Quarantining with our families isn’t easy on anyone. We’re all on edge, from kids to husbands. Even the family dog might be stressed given the change in routine. On that note, we decided to reach out to local dog trainer and advocate Jessica DelGuercio, founder of Paws of Greenwich, to ask her about ways to keep our pups happy during quarantine, as well as helping local dogs without homes during this time.

 

What are some challenges for household pets right now?

Dogs, like people, are creatures of habit! They are sensitive, intelligent, and thrive in environments with structure and routine. shift in your dog’s regular schedule – such as a change in feeding or exercise could have a negative impact on their behavior. Also keep in mind that dogs are very intuitive to our emotions which may lead to stress or anxiety.

 

How can you as a dog parent address these and keep pets happy during this stressful time?

  • Keep a healthy routine with the same feeding, potty, and exercise times. Focus on smaller changes over a period of time – like feeding 15 minutes later each day.
  • Exercise your pup first thing in the morning. You’ll have the tire them out and get a quick workout in for yourself, so you can focus on your kids and not feel guilty.
  • Keep them busy with Canine Enrichment activities to keep you sane during homeschool hours! Easy canine enrichment ideas include a simple scavenger hunt for treats around your home, using a “Snuffle Mat” for feedings or solving a treat puzzle.  Check out the Canine Enrichment Facebook Group for ideas!
  • Incorporate 15-30 minutes of Bonding Time with your pup. This may include bedtime cuddles, a doggie massage or a nice walk to their favorite spot.
  • Monitor your children and limit playtime with the dog to 15- 20-minute increments. Kids can easily stress/aggravate dogs, which could result in unwanted canine behavior.

 

How can you use the fact that kids are home to help pets and kids?

First and foremost, the love and companionship that a dog offers during this time, is simply invaluable. Canines provide comfort, connection and interaction, essential to exasperate fears and stress for children and all family members who may feel an overwhelming sense of isolation and anxiety.

 

With children at home full time, and parents seeking unique ways to educate and engage them, there are ample creative ways to integrate your furry friends into the new “normal”.

  • Create a Dog Care Schedule with chores for each child to complete. Include daily responsibilities like feeding, walking, brushing your dog, etc
  • Start a new Reading to your Dog ritual at night,to help fine time verbal communication and ease anxiety before bedtime.
  • Encourage your child to Teach Your Dog a New Trick or Command. Giving your child the freedom to teach, will help their communication skills, motor skills and increase their self-esteem and build their confidence. It will also challenge your pup – who is always eager to learn something new – especially for a treat!

 

How can you help shelter dogs in our area right now?

Animal shelters and rescues are facing many hardships at this time. Some have temporarily closed or are limiting hours of operation due to safety precautions. And, with people falling ill and facing financial hardships, there is an expected uptick in owners relinquishing their pets. It’s important to know that there is no evidence that pets, can spread COVID-19 and pets should remain in their homes whenever possible.

Some ways you can help:

    • Foster or Adopt a Pet! Adopting or fostering a pet is a wonderful way to decrease feelings of loneliness and stress during this time – for both people and paws. 
    • With ample family time, now is an opportune time to consider welcoming a new furry member into your family. However, make sure to adopt – or foster – responsibly! Pets are a lifetime commitment!
    • Launch a Facebook Fundraiser for your local animal shelter and encourage your friends to donate, or simply make a donate on their website.
    • Donate Supplies! Cleaning supplies for sanitizing and laundering are always in need at shelters. Chew toys and busy bones are loved by dogs and keep them preoccupies and engaged while no one is present.
    • Like and Share adoptable pets on Social Media. Join the PAWS of Greenwich group page, and like your local animal shelter pages on Facebook and Instagram. Repost & share the adoptable pets featured on their page. 

 

Where can you buy food and other supplies without going to a store?

I encourage all residents to shop local and support small businesses! Pet Pantry Riverside (Exit 5) is offering curbside pick-up. They are open 10am-6pm daily and orders should be placed for pickup at least 1-hour prior (203) 344-9295; click here for online ordering. Choice Pet Greenwich (80 E Putnam Ave) offers both in-store, curbside pick-up and online shopping at www.choicepet.com.

For those facing financial hardship and in need of pet food assistance, please contact Greenwich Animal Control at (203) 622-8299 or PAWS of Greenwich via email: jessica@pawsofgreenwich.com  or 917-359-0515.

 

Anything else you’d like to add ?

Practice Proper (Paw) Hygiene

  • Wash and sanitize your hands before and after walking or playtime with your pets.
  • Wash/wipe their paws and coat with mild soap or natural dog wipes
  • Clean and sanitize leashes, collars and car interiors

Plan Ahead (just in case!)

  • Designate an emergency pet caregiver, in case you or a family member becomes ill
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your dog with two weeks’ worth of food, medications, and a brief information sheet. 
  • Stock up on pet food and supplies
  • Ensure Microchip contact information is up to date and keep your dog tagged and leashed whenever possible.

  

More About PAWS of Greenwich

PAWS of Greenwich is a collective of local pet owners, working to make Greenwich a paw-some, pet-friendly community. Join the PAWS of Greenwich Facebook Group Page for ideas and discussion about pet-friendly Greenwich. https://www.facebook.com/groups/pawsofgreenwich/

Jessica DelGuercio is the founder of PAWS of Greenwich,  who specializes in the creation of individualized lifestyle plans for canines (and their owners) focused on exercise, socialization and balanced training techniques. Services range from new puppy prep & shopping to dog walking, hiking, pet sitting and balanced training services (virtual, off-site or in
-person). 

To schedule a complimentary 15-minute Virtual Dog Training session with Jessica, email jessica@pawsofgreenwich.com or text 917-359-0515

 

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