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Pets and Their Stress During the Coronavirus Outbreak

One of the most amazing things about pets is their ability to reduce our stress, calm our nerves, and distract us from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. With recent developments related to the coronavirus outbreak, many of us may be experiencing more than the usual stress or anxiety.

While many of us turn to our pets for comfort, it is important to remember that our animal friends can be aware of, sensitive to, and affected by our human responses to this difficult situation. Your pet’s day may have gone from quiet lazing to a bustling household of active kids and pet parents working at home. Pets rely on routines and patterns of life to keep them calm and healthy and changes at home can affect our pets physically and emotionally.

Bottom line: many pet species sense and internalize human stress. In turn, they may experience a loss of appetite, depression or a lack of interest in toys, activities, or interaction. They may also relieve themselves indoors or not in typical spots like a litter box. Pets can also become withdrawn or tired, hyperactive, display aggressive behavior or the need to be near their loved ones.

What can we do? We can continue to rely on our pets for comfort while following published guidelines to help them stay happy and healthy. At the same time, let’s strive to maintain calm conditions with the right mix of quiet time and exercise and adhere to routines that help our pets adjust to a trying situation. Some things that may help:

  • Provide a space where the pet can get away from the constant stimulus of a home full of people.

  • Maintain their regular meal schedule and do not switch from their regular food unless absolutely unavoidable. And…don’t overdo it on the snacks!

  • As the situation permits, stock up on pet food, snacks, and medications.

  • If you are planning, or need to go out with your pet, please keep informed and follow guidelines provided by local and national government and health officials.

  • Follow the instructions of your veterinarian or pet health provider. Stay updated on pet emergency and urgent care availability.

Pups and Pals hopes that while taking steps to create a calm, lower stress environment for your pets, you, too, find comfort and peace while we work together to defeat this disease.

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