Golden retriever refused to leave a group of coronavirus medical workers who was lost from the owner and took care of the dog for two months in China.
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Our colleague Brian Truitt from the USA TODAY Life team is here to share tips for taking care of dogs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Maintaining a sense of normalcy in households can get tricky when quarantining because of coronavirus. Especially when you factor in the canine members of your family.
It might sound like a dream for most dogs to have their owners hanging around and never leaving. But a change in the status quo for you and the human kids will have an effect on them emotionally, too. Your every day is way different than it was a month ago, and so is theirs.
Every member of the family’s state of mind should be taken into account, whether they have a wagging tail or not, and here are five ways to keep all your good boys and girls entertained:
DogTV is worth booting up for pooch pleasure
The only thing better than binge-watching episodes of “Friday Night Lights” or “The West Wing” while social distancing is doing so with a furry friend. When you take a break or read a book, though, log onto DogTV so they can have some entertainment, too. There’s currently a 30-day free trial period for the streaming website, which features several canine-friendly videos for stimulation, relaxation and exposure. (Also on tap: lots of helpful how-to videos for owners, including how to make liver pate!) It’s pretty fun for a human to watch, too, with all kinds of cute dogs, though the soothing music might put you and nearby companions in a napping mindset.
Playing outside is refreshing but keep it fun inside, too
In a period of self-isolation, it’s still OK to walk your dog in your neighborhood or, if you have a fenced-in backyard, let them loose to run around. Invest in a Chuckit! launcher or just grab a tennis ball and play fetch – it’s especially fun if you have a young child who needs some exercise, too. The fun doesn’t have to end inside, though. Treat-dispensing puzzle toys where dogs have to use their noggins to get a snack are good to have around the house (especially if you’re trying to get work done or homeschooling your human children), rubber toys and plastic keys are favorite chewing items, but also have options like ropes for tug of war where you can also have a blast.
A BarkBox is the online gift that keeps on giving
Right now is not the greatest time to go shopping at a pet store, though there’s nothing that will excite most dogs more than a new toy or a fresh treat. Luckily, the canine-flavored subscription box unleashes both to the max. Monthly themed BarkBoxes (which start at $22 per) each contain two toys, a couple bags of treats and usually some sort of chew stick – for example, a recent Australia-centric box (with proceeds going toward a program saving koalas Down Under) featured squeaky platypus and crocodile toys and “Meat Pie, Mate!” treats. They also have an online Barkshop in case you need an extra Kookaburra or a chewy bacon Pawplexer.
Healthy treats will help everybody get through mealtime
Being home a lot more means a lot more meals where hungry pups might be hanging around begging or at least annoyingly parked at your feet. That might be a good time for a treat, though don’t make them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you’re having one. Instead, opt for apple slices, celery or carrots that will quell their taste buds as you finish up. (Good luck getting them off your case if you’re making a steak sandwich.)
You should show them all the love (though you knew that already)
Engaging with your pups is important – maybe you want to take funny pictures of them to send to social-distancing relatives or re-create famous movie scenes for a blog (trust us, it’s hilarious). Some extra care and attention are also key because if this coronavirus crisis is stressing you out, they’ll feel it, too. If your dog loves napping next to you, have a stack of blankets for snuggling. Or if your dog is more like a cat, let him have enough alone time. A bond between human and canine is strong, and fostering that will help everybody through tough times.
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