I was recently asked a question, “What are the considerations a family should make when deciding to bring a new pet into their home under the lockdown?”
I would like to start off by saying that anytime of the year is a perfect time to adopt a pet from a shelter, especially during this pandemic. If you finally decided to adopt a new pet, contact the shelter to see what the polices are on adopting and what procedures you need to follow before adopting the pet. This information could save a lot of frustration before going to select your pet.
For dogs, I would recommend having the dog brought outside so you do a meet and greet and see how there how they interact with you. Seeing the dog in a small room might cause the dog to be anxious. In the small room, the dog is “cornered,” and if he is fearful, he might show signs of anxiety/fear. In an outside environment, the dog could have the sense of being in the open and the opportunity to approach you when they are ready. Using Adaptil or similar products during the visit will help alleviate the dog’s anxiety. Adaptil is a pheromone that is produced from the mother dog to calm her puppies. This product has also been proven to help older dogs. If you have children, you will want to make sure you get a nice dog that’s going to behave.
For cats at shelters, they generally are cautious to strangers and might require more time for them to get use to you. In this situation, the shelter should have you meet with the cat in an isolated room and everyone visiting the cat should move slowly and talk quietly. You should ask the shelter if they have a calming spray, such as Feliway, that could be used during the visit. Feliway is a product that helps relieve stress and anxiety in cats. It mimics the cat’s scent gland that release calming pheromones.
Once you do find a pet and bring them into your home, this would be the ideal time to get them acclimated to your living situation. Since you are working from home, you have the time to actually work with house training the pet.
With cats, I recommend that you put them in a room with food, water, and a litter pan. Leave the door closed for the first day and let the cat get acclimated to the home. Once the cat is acclimated to the environment, provide toys for enrichment, and take the cat to the location of where you want the litter box and place them into the box. This will teach them where you would want them to use the restroom.
For dogs, provide a kennel that is large enough for them to move in the cage. Begin working with the dog to developing a routine. Then throughout the day, you can play and train your dog to your home.
The downside of considering adopting a pet is based on your working status. If you are facing unemployment, I would recommend that you do not adopt a pet at the moment. This would be another expense for you and your family, and you might have to surrender the pet because you cannot afford the pet.
Separation anxiety could be an issue with the pet when your return to your regular work schedule, especially with dogs. For the last several weeks, your pet has seen you every day and now you are leaving the home. Behavior issues could arise causing more problems in the home.