Confirmed cases of canines diagnosed with a coronavirus have dog owners understandably concerned.
On April 28, the American Kennel Association noted that based on current information, “dogs can contract coronaviruses, most commonly the canine respiratory coronavirus. This specific novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is not believed to be a health threat to dogs, but dogs can test positive for the virus.”
The World Organisation for Animal Health states that “the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered low” and that to date, “there is no evidence that companion animals play a significant role in spreading the disease.”
But as a concerned pet parent, what can you do to keep your dog safe?
Keep your dog safe
The Centers for Disease Control makes the following suggestions:
Socialize your dog
How can you socialize your puppy or continue socializing your adult dog if you are quarantining at home and practicing social distancing when you are out?
The socialization process uses classical conditioning to teach our dogs that “stuff” isn’t scary. By pairing sightings of people and dogs with food, for example, dogs learn when a human or dog appears, good things happen! It is best to start this process from a distance and gradually move closer over time.
Social distancing, in this case, is actually a good thing. Be creative; there are many ways to start or continue socializing your dog.
Prevent separation anxiety
Most of us are not ordinarily home 24/7; that has changed with Georgian’s “sheltering in place.” Our dogs, who were used to being left alone from time to time are now getting used to us being home all the time.
Trainers and behaviorists are concerned that once things return to normal, some dogs may develop separation anxiety.
To keep this from happening, trainers are suggesting that you purposely leave your dog alone for varied periods of time every day.
Leave your dog at home while the entire family takes a short walk. While you make a run to the post office or grocery store, have remaining family members go into their rooms or outside for a few minutes. Practicing leaving your dog home alone now can prevent issues in the future.
Boredom prevention with enrichment activities
The saying that a tired dog is a good dog holds true; most of us realize dogs need physical exercise. But don’t forget that tiring your dog mentally with enrichment activities is also highly effective.
There are numerous enrichment toys and games available for purchase. But if you are a bored do-it-yourselfer, here are a few enrichment toys that you can make at home. It’s win-win; you have a fun project to do which will result in your dog having a great activity to do.
Be safe and well. Happy training!