If not more, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance and value of love, gratitude, and compassion - and who better to learn this from than animals? People across the country are adopting pets to help with their mental health. A companion animal is known to help with depression, anxiety, frustration, and stress - all of which are direct and indirect results of the looming COIVD-19 pandemic. As people begin to shift workspaces from offices to homes, more and more pets are finding forever homes. The pandemic has brought people closer to their animals like never before!
'Adopting a pet during a pandemic' - as exciting as it sounds, it may help to go over a few pointers that can help you in deciding which pet to adopt and how to look after it. Here are seven things you must consider before adopting a pet during the Covid-19 pandemic:
There is a great pet for every parent, and there is a great parent for every pet - it is all about finding the perfect match!
1. Type: Everyone has their favourite pet breed, right? Whether you prefer a Maltese or a Belgian Malinois; a Persian, or a Ragdoll as your companion, it is best to do a bit of homework on whether your breed of choice fits your lifestyle. If the pandemic doesn't stop you from exercising outdoors, a dog may be your perfect exercise companion; contrarily, if you prefer to laze around on the couch binge-watching a tv show, there's a cat who might be interested in that. Whether you are a cat person or a dog person, the decision to adopt a pet during a pandemic mustn't be hasty - remember to think about every aspect of the pet's life - present and future!
2. Environment: Now that you've selected your type of pet, you need to make sure it is suitable for your home. Does it need room to roam? Does it require perches to rest? A pandemic may require you to stay at home without stepping out for daily walks - how would you manage then? When it comes to dogs, large breeds prefer yards with a bit of running space, while small breeds do perfectly well lounging on the sofa in an apartment. Cats can live almost anywhere, but they need exercise through cat trees, scratch posts, cat wheels etc. Where you live plays a significant role in determining how happy your pet is going to be. That said, choose a pet that is best for your home because no matter the size, they all show unconditional love!
3. Health: Some breeds are prone to certain diseases than others, which is why it is important for novice pet parents to adopt pets from a reputable breeder or shelter. With a surge in pets finding forever homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has led to the awful world of pet mills and backyard breeding - pets adopted from such places tend to develop health complications as they grow older. Remember to buy or adopt from responsible and reputable breeders and shelters - meet the breeder/shelter caretaker, ask questions about the pet's history, meet the pet's parents (if buying), get a medical history/vaccination report, and always meet the litter instead of just one puppy/kitten (that way you will be able to know the temperament of your pet).
4. Trainability: How many hours of training will you be able to give your dog? Some dogs are more independent-minded than others and hence require extra time, effort, and patience on the parent's part. If you are a novice dog parent, it would be best for you to choose a breed that is fairly easy to train; contrarily, experienced pet parents can adopt a dog that is a bit more challenging. Cats need training, too - although not as much as dogs, they do need to be taught house rules and discipline. It would therefore help every pet parent to choose their breed based on trainability wisely so as to avoid behavioural problems later on.
5. Mental Stimulation: Although we are spending more time at home in the pandemic, we are occupied with work. While we work, our pets stare listlessly at our faces or out of the window, waiting for playtime. Instead of letting their brain sit idle, stimulate their minds to think and work on problems in different ways. Pets that are bored quickly tend to be destructive, which is why sufficient mental stimulation is one of the best solutions.
6. Temperament and Personality: If you live with children, a rambunctious pet may be a problem. Similarly, pets that prefer only one person's company may find it hard to adjust to a family of four or six. It would be best if your pet's temperament must suit your lifestyle and those around you. That said, barkers and yowlers are not well tolerated in apartment ecosystems, especially when everyone works from home. In order to determine your pet's temperament before bringing them home, ask your breeder or shelter about the pet's personality with his or her littermates. You can also choose to visit the potential pet a few times to fully understand her temperament and personality - if you are bringing this pet into a family, it may be best to introduce your family members to the pet as well.
7. Grooming: How much time will you be able to give to removing knots and mats from your pet's fur? Long-haired pets need more time and effort when it comes to grooming compared to short-haired pets. Choose your pet depending on how much time you will be able to allot to grooming - even if you are home all the time.
In this time of uncertainty, we long for companionship - to be able to have someone stick by you no matter what undoubtedly burrows the undesirable emotions of frustration that the pandemic left hovering over us.