After causing havoc in our lives, the covid-19 pandemic has left behind unstable living situations and countless physical and psychological problems to address. Life after the lockdown is confusing and scary for animals, especially puppies who have grown in this phase and are unaware of other human and animal interactions besides their own family.
For animals, it's hard to understand the constant change and the art of socialization. The lack of outdoor walks and playtime with other dogs and cats has isolated them from the real world. It has caused severe physical, psychological, and behavioral distress. With strategic planning and a stable routine, pet owners can help their pets get accustomed to posting covid ordinary everyday life.
Physical Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Dogs
Obesity in dogs
Since 2020, dog owners have reported that their dogs have become overweight during the lockdown period. The covid safety precautions came with benefits and plenty of downsides for pets. As the attachment grew between the parents, it became easy for them to give in to their dog's begging. According to a survey, obesity in pets has increased up to an alarming rate of 108%.
The surveys found it challenging to say no to their dog's pleading. Most dog owners didn't know how to set up a weight loss plan. At the same time, some were unable to keep a check on their nutrient intake and regular exercise. These factors played out in increasing the ratio of pet obesity.
Health Struggles as a Result of Obesity
The extra pounds your furry friend has taken up are causing a lot of health damage as these obese dogs are already putting enough strain on their legs which causes orthopedic problems such as osteoarthritis. Obesity, if left untreated, can lead up to severe respiratory and heart diseases, leading to death. In addition to a low immune system, obesity also causes a decrease in the life span. It prevents your furry friend from leading a healthy and happy life.
How to help your dog lose pandemic weight?
The cause of this pandemic weight is boredom and lack of exercise. To help your dog lose weight, you must create an interactive and effective plan involving daily activities and a nutrient control diet. Dogs are similar to humans when dealing with emotional dilemmas; they turn toward food. Follow the given guideline to have an effective result
Make one change a day. Start with a 15-minute walk.
Get interactive toys like bones, balls, treadmills, snuffle mats, puzzles etc.
Stop giving into your dog's pleading for treats and extra food.
Limit the amount of treats and make sure only one person is feeding treats to keep count.
Set a strict mealtime.
Get in touch with your vet and create an adequate meal plan.
Behavioral Changes in Dogs During Covid
The constant on and off of lockdown and the change in daily routines have created a visible difference in the behavior of dogs. The lack of outdoor trips and daily exercise differs from their typical routine. The persistent boredom and absence of their furry friends lead up to exhaustion. Dogs vent out their negative feelings by growling to seek attention. It becomes excessive when you ignore this action, and the dog can bite to seek more attention.
Dogs like human interaction and attention, but children's excessive touching and aggressive petting can cause frustration and anger. Dogs are sensitive animals and need to be respected. Like us, they like to have their personal space.
If you find these behavioral changes in your dog, talk to your vet to make sure the behavioral changes listed below are not part of bigger health issues.
Anger and aggression
Relieving outside the litter box
Psychological Problems in Dogs from Covid Lockdowns
Separation anxiety is the stress and panic resulting from the separation from their loved ones. This psychological problem in dogs has been on rising since the lockdown. As the lockdown has been lifted, pets have been scared to be alone and are not wanting to leave their owners.
Dogs are sensitive and intelligent beings. They pick on feelings and emotions very well and reflect them with their actions. The isolation period resulted in close bonding and attachment among the pets and their owners. As humans look forward to returning to their typical life, animals might not take this situation well.
Not having someone the whole day might be troublesome for your dog; they may take it as a sign of abandonment. It is advised for pet owners to look out for signs and symptoms showing anxiety in their dogs. These symptoms, if ignored, can turn into a severe condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
If the dog is stressed, you will find these signs and symptoms and body language showing separation anxiety.
Urinating in inappropriate places
Banging doors and destroying things
Loss of appetite
Attempts of escape
Panicking when the parent leaves
Chewing and biting
Aggressive or timid behavior
If you find these symptoms in your dog, don't worry; you can still help them overcome this stress: find a force free trainer, add CBD to their diet, or start routine acupressure sessions.
Poor Socialization and Deteriorating Personality
Among various post covid complications, poor socialization is another challenge pet owners must tackle with patience and understanding. Like us, dogs have also forgotten how to greet and make friends with other pets. As much as we want to keep ourselves and our pets in our comfort zones, socialization is crucial for personality development and mental growth.
Getting out, meeting other humans and furry pets, and getting comfortable with different noises and characters are the tidbits of the routine that covid isolation took away from pets. Meeting new people and staying in a new place can be overwhelming and stressful for some pets. Plan a day out collaborating with other pet owners of the relative breed to phase out the awkwardness. Add new activities and outings with more people and animals to present new opportunities.
Acupressure for Pets: An Effective Complementary Solution for Separation Anxiety and Stress
Acupressure is a Chinese practice that is highly efficient in relieving stress and anxiety in animals. Gentle pressure is applied to specific points (acs-points) on the body, which increases blood flow and relaxes tight muscles. Acupressure is a holistic modality that benefits any animal: young, old, unhealthy and healthy.
Using this technique, you will see tremendous changes in your pet's behavior and a boost in appetite and energy. A healthy mind makes a healthy body. Acupressure can provide more benefits than just depression, anxiety, and stress. It can also help with treating
Poor digestive health
Paralysis, epilepsy, and other neurological diseases
Orthopedic diseases such as arthritis
Acupressure is complementary care and can be combined with CBD or training to ease the dogs stress levels. It is not a replacement for veterinary care. If your dog is in distress or showing signs of sudden changes in behavior, contact your vet first.
A Gentle Transition Plan for Post-Lockdown Life
Adjusting to a post-pandemic world can be challenging not only for humans but also for our furry companions, especially pandemic puppies and kittens who have grown accustomed to a limited environment. It's crucial for pet owners to understand that snapping back into the old routine may be difficult for these animals. To ease the transition and ensure the well-being of your pets, consider implementing a gradual and stress-free plan.
Mini Walks for Exposure: Start by taking your dog for short, controlled walks to gradually introduce them to the outside world. Allow them to explore their surroundings at a comfortable pace, helping them acclimate to new scents, sounds, and sights. Positive reinforcement, such as treats for completing the walk, can create a positive association with these outings.
Reward-Based Training: Use treats and positive reinforcement to encourage your pet to overcome challenges. This can include simple commands, tricks, or adapting to new situations. Celebrate their successes to build confidence and reinforce the idea that new experiences can be enjoyable.
Gradual Alone Time: Ease your pet into being alone by gradually increasing the time they spend on their own. Start with short intervals and use a timer to establish a routine. This helps prevent separation anxiety and fosters independence, making alone time a regular and expected part of their day.
Socialization and Human Interaction: Plan pet playdates or interactions with other animals to help your pet develop social skills. Additionally, increase human interaction to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Regular positive interactions can contribute to their overall well-being and make them more adaptable to changes in their environment.
Mirror Your Routine: Create a routine for your pet that mirrors your own daily activities. This consistency can provide a sense of security and predictability, reducing stress for your pet. This routine can include feeding times, playtime, walks, and rest periods.
Maintain Your Mental Health: Remember that your well-being directly impacts your pet's happiness. Taking care of your mental health allows you to provide the best care for your furry friend. Ensure you have the support and resources needed to manage any stressors, as a harmonious home environment contributes to the overall comfort of your pet.
This guide to calming your dog during thunderstorms can also be a helpful guide in helping them gain confidence outside of the home.
In summary, the key is to approach the post-pandemic transition for your pet with patience, positive reinforcement, and a gradual introduction to new experiences. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can help your pandemic puppy or kitten feel more at ease and adapt successfully to their evolving environment.
The repercussions of the pandemic have scarred humankind. Pets have faced several physical and mental issues that require close observation and treatment to undo the damage. Along with providing extra attention and careful checks on their nutrient intake, acupressure has shown incredible results in supporting neurological and mental conditions such as separation anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and stress. An effective routine of acupressure will help your pet get accustomed to this new and hopefully final change.