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Coronavirus: Your Pet Is Your Saviour During Quarantine Let us check out how to survive these trying times with your pets.

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Human beings are creatures built to thrive on social interaction and practising self-isolation and working from home in the midst of a countrywide lockdown can have an impact on our mental health. In places like New York City, a place that is fast turning into the next epicentre, people are turning to fostering pets to help them during these tough times. And rescue centres say that they're finding it hard to find enough rescues to match at this moment. That is a small ray of sunshine.

Dealing With Mental Stress

It's okay and natural to be worried during these times but your pet can help take that edge off the feeling. Take your dog out for a quick walk and watch them appreciate the little things around them – new smells, objects. Watch your kittens and their boundless enthusiasm over a little ball of string. These can put your life into perspective and reduce stress levels. But it's not just your furry four-legged friends that can help with the stress. Studies have shown that aquarium watching can help you feel calmer and reduce stress too.

How Much Social Interaction Is Good For Pets Now

When you take your dog out for a walk, remember to keep it short and stay local. Make sure you keep their social interaction to the minimum. While a passing stranger might want to scratch your dog's ear, it's better to avoid it now. While there isn't enough evidence to suggest that your pet can contract the coronavirus, the virus could live on their fur and collar and get transmitted to you and your family. It is something that's easily avoidable. Instead, try to get some activity at home.

Focus On Their Needs Too

During these times, do not make it all about how your pets can help you and ensure that you pay attention to their needs as well. Groom them, keep them fresh, whip up something new in the kitchen for them and they will be happy; do not forget that even they cannot head to their favourite park, take a long walk and meet their friends. They do not ask for much and they have only got you. Even if you do not have huge space, simple games like hide and seek, tug and getting your dog to find his treats hidden across the house will help you bond better and keep them mentally sharp as a bonus. It's is also a great time to teach them new tricks. These activities will also ensure that you remain active and not slouched on your couch working overtime or watching the telly.

Is It The Time To Be Extra Indulgent With Your Pets

While we are used to being in the company of others for most part of the day, our pets are usually the ones who find themselves alone at home and they will be thrilled to have us all to themselves during this period. This extra time also gives us the opportunity to make up for all the lost time but try not to be extra indulgent. Remember that once the lockdown ends and you get back to your earlier life, your pets may have it the hardest since they have got used to you being around and suddenly you are not. Try and keep to a routine with them and give them their space and independence during this period. Be prepared to deal with separation anxiety when the situation changes.

What If They Are Unwell

While pet clinics and hospitals are essential services and allowed to remain open for emergencies, your quick run to the vet may not be that simple. Floap is working with doctors across the country to facilitate e-consultations and home visits to help you and your buddy rest easier. So, do not try and read up symptoms online, make your own diagnosis and medicate them. Take the help of expert advice when it's actually available.

What If You Test Positive

This is probably the biggest worry that pet parents have to deal with right now. And unfortunately, there is not a perfect answer anywhere. While your pets may not necessarily be at risk from the infection, if you are tested positive, they could be a carrier or source of the virus for others. If you aren't hospitalised, then you will have to restrict contact with your pet. If you live alone or get hospitalised, your pet will need someone to care for them. Close friends or family could be a source of temporary living arrangements for your pet. In the meantime, Floap is actively working with Non-government organizations and shelters to ensure that your pets are cared for and safe in such a situation.

In the middle of all this, while most of us enjoy the privilege of being at home safely, spare a thought for the strays in your neighbourhood and feed them too. When this all ends, we may be even more appreciative of all the unconditional love our pets and even strays show us every day.

Shruthi Venugopal Nithin

Founder and CEO, Floap

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