Everyone is out walking their dogs. I think that is fabulous!
HOWEVER, I would be a bad clinician if not to remind you to please "scale" those activities.
What do I mean by that?
I've written here on the blog [and spoken in-person to clients & at events] about "Weekend Warrior Syndrome".
Because it's a very realistic (& common) thing with dogs, just as it is with people. Except with dogs... sometimes MORE common.
We work and go to the gym during week and then on the weekends we take our dogs to "dog beach" and run them in the sand for an hour or 2. Or perhaps we're lucky enough to live by a body of water, and we swim them.
This is not the same activity as the morning and or nightly walks they're used to.
I've worked with many dogs that to their caregivers, appeared to have acute hip dysplasia or maybe a CCL injury, when it was a very severe (and painful) muscle strain.
So now with the world resorting to outdoor activities and spending a LOT more time with their pets, everyone is taking their gym workouts outdoors.
For a pet that is not used to this level of activity (i.e., going for daily walks or even runs) it is difficult.
This places an enormous new strain on their musculoskeletal system- not to mention the heart and lungs if they're older.
Super slow, stop 'n sniff walks notwithstanding, there are A LOT of other non-strenuous bonding activities you can do with your pets during this period of quarantine.
Several of which are illustrated right here on this blog's pages! (A wagon is a great idea to not over stress them and still get to be outside.)
Being in nature is wonderful!
Having a dog turn up lame and worrying, not only about his/her health, but how you're going to fare going to the vet's office, is something we (STILL) don't have time for- even now.
When the quarantine is lifted, I am hopeful that we will all continue to be mindful of our hygiene and keep the same level of interaction and activity with our pets as we are doing right now.
The AVMA released an advisory this week concerning pets and COVID-19.
The good news is that at this point, there is no evidence that shows our pets become ill with coronavirus or that they get/give it to other animals. Including us.
However, the initial "epicenter" of the outbreak in Wuhan China had a large seafood and animal market suggestive of humans receiving it from animals.
Here is a specific quote from the AVMA's press release:
You should still practice good hygiene and for your pet - keep them clean, clean bedding, bowls, toys, wash your hands...etc. Perhaps being more diligent and consistent now than maybe we were previously, makes for good, future practices as well.
Those that contract the virus, because of all the caution, shouldn't abandon extra safety measures or advisement, which means- someone else should be walking, feeding, and playing with the pets while they recuperate.
Amazon announced earlier today that it will run short of non-essential supplies until April once current inventory is out of stock.
If you don't already have an "emergency supply" of pet food and medications (considered 14-days), it is a good idea to stock up now.
This could be a positive time period for families as spending more time with your pets increases bonding and well-being (for EVERYONE) and perhaps more walks outside for the canine family members will help put a dent in the pet obesity problem we're currently dealing with!
What related questions do you have?
Are you concerned?
The whole reason my practice, this site, my extensive education, volunteer efforts, fostering...
is because saving animals IS my thing.
Best Friends Sanctuary in Kanab Utah is home to ~1600 animals of all different species. Over thousands of acres, each devoted animal area is like a organized and well-run "town" (i.e. DogTown).
There is a constant "buzz" of new animal intakes, adoptions and exceptional care for the "resident" animals that, for whatever reason, cannot be adopted out.
As long time contributors and supporters of Best Friends, it had been a goal for years to make the trek out to southern Utah to visit the sanctuary.
No easy feat on both sides! (They're blessed to be busy with visitors and temporary volunteers.)
After not having taken a TRUE vacation in years because of challenges on the home front, I rationalized this trip as "work-related" because of my rehabilitation experience.
In the area named "Cat World", I was assigned a particular building that housed neurologically-involved kitties. In the picture above, these two beauties are getting exercise and socialization outside of their (huge) indoor/outdoor, full equipped pens where they live with other similarly challenged cats as mini families.
NOTE the use of harness (vs collars) on all the animals! (Yay)
In the picture above, I'm working with "Kit" who, along with her brother "Caboodle", are Husky-mixes that were found as pups. They both have a condition that I relate most closely to Cerebral Palsy in humans.
Kit uses a wheelchair-like device to help her stand while eating. The specially crafted and "July 4th" board hides the kibble so she must root to find it.
(Neurologically-involved animals is also kinda my thing, as you can see)
One area that I do not have particular experience in is with wildlife or exotics. Therefore I made sure I spent a few different shifts in their expansive "Wild Friends" department.
A golf cart is a necessity to get around to all the animals at Wild Friends!
I'm posting different pictures than I did over on my other social media site (TheFitChick's Instagram) but what I will repeat saying are the statistics and information that fuel the mission behind Best Friends NK2025 or "No Kill 2025" as it applies to shelters across the country.
As ambitious as that may sound, the numbers make sense.
It doesn't mean that there will be an end to humane euthanasia for legitimate (health) reasons; it means an end to the senseless euthanasia to pets that COULD be adopted out.
No kill simply means that the shelters will have a 90% success rate in not killing animals. Not only will adoptions be a focus but Best Friends works tirelessly against senseless breeding by controlling feral animal populations (i.e., trap and release cat programs) and irresponsible breeders (i.e. puppy mills).
Their success has resulted in a significant decline in animals being euthanized: from ~7mil to 700k!
There are ~14mil homes looking to add a pet or an additional pet to the family and ~4mil available pets through shelters and rescues.
(Read that again.)
I appreciate everyone who has reached out since my return to ask how they can be more involved in animal welfare and particularly for Best Friends.
Did you watch "The Game Changers" movie?
It was just released on Netflix.
It talks about health, performance (all aspects) and nutrition with vegan diets. The number of world-class athletes featured as well as the research cited, was impressive.
I'm curious because the majority of people that engage via messages or in-person with me from this site are vegan.
And a great majority care deeply about their pets' diet -maybe more than their own nutrition.
(pic source: gamechangersmovie.com)