How to Care for a Pet You Adopted During the COVID-19 Pandemic


When animal shelters tried to find foster homes for pets during the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers across the United States were interested.

Sydney Bartson Queen, an animal behavior counselor for the nonprofit American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told Today that her organization received an incredible response from people willing to foster and adopt pets who needed homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's an amazing way to support your community, save a life and bring some added joy into your home," Queen said.

While people are still social distancing, whether you are fostering or adopting, puppies need positive exposure to many different experiences. This may be challenging during the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still ways to do it.

Queen said you could take your pups on lots of walks on different routes in all kinds of weather.

When walking, you should have a plan when passing by buses, cars, and construction sites. If it is loud, try to get your pet excited with delicious treats and pay attention to their body language.

If your dog gets lonely, you can plan play dates with other vaccinated dogs who have not been exposed to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

You can also create obstacle courts for your pups when you stay inside your home.

"They're at a period of time in their life when their little brains are just soaking up everything around them," Queen said.

Many professional dog trainers are offering remote training classes during the pandemic.

Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, a veterinarian and head of the Animal Behavior Department of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said pet owners should use positive reinforcement rather than physical discipline with their animals.

She said if a cat or dog shows exhibits problematic behavior, it may be an underlying medical issue.

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