While many people have found comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic by bringing home new dogs for companionship, a recent survey* found 73% of those who became dog owners for the first time are considering re-homing their dog once the pandemic ends. This decision is likely driven by a lack of knowledge of what it takes to care for a pet, as one in four (25%) said they don’t have enough information to properly care for their dog. With this in mind, below are some expert tips from Merck Animal Health to help dog owners embrace pet care for life.
1. Expel Excess Energy
Walking your dog provides valuable exercise and relief from cabin fever.Over one-third of pandemic puppy owners were surprised by the attention they require. Additionally, one-third of first-time owners who are considering re-homing cited their dog’s energy as a challenge. Sound familiar? Try short, frequent walks. Sure Petcare’s Animo® tracker can also monitor their activity and help you adjust as needed.
2. Protect Puppies from Parasites
Start your puppy on a flea and tick preventative to ensure they are protected from parasites and the diseases they can transmit.Nearly one-third (29%) of pandemic puppy owners were surprised to learn how much parasites can impact their dog’s health. Puppies eight weeks of age or older can use BRAVECTO® 1-MONTH Chews to protect them from fleas and ticks until six months of age.
3. Simplify Parasite Prevention for Adult Dogs
Using a long-lasting parasite preventative takes monthly dosing off of your to-do list.One-third (35%) of first-time dog owners said giving their dog flea and tick preventative treatments has been an unexpected challenge. Keep it simple by transitioning to BRAVECTO® (fluralaner) Chews once they are six months or older - one dose provides 12 weeks of flea and tick protection.
4. Maintain a Preventative Care Schedule
Work with your veterinary team to protect your dog from preventable diseases.Only slightly more than half (57%) of people who got their first dog during the pandemic consider themselves knowledgeable about preventative care. Preventative vet visits ensure your dog gets the vaccines needed to protect them from serious diseases. Ask your veterinarian about a preventative care schedule at your next appointment.
5. Recognize Your Veterinary Team is A Valuable Resource
Asking your veterinary team your dog health questions ensures you will get trustworthy advice.More than half of pandemic dog owners wish taking care of their dog’s health was easier (57%) and less time-consuming (56%). Your veterinary team can be a great resource for advice on how to simplify pet care, including vet nurses. Write down questions to ask them at your next appointment.
6. Take Advantage of Telemedicine
Scheduling virtual appointments can give your dog the care they need from the comfort of your home. Nearly one-fourth (22%) of pandemic first-time dog owners and one-third (27%) of pre-pandemic dog owners said they have encountered challenges when scheduling veterinary appointments. If scheduling an in-person or curbside appointment has been difficult, ask your veterinary team about telemedicine and if your pet’s appointment can be done virtually.
7. Be Patient & Stay Positive!
Dogs provide unconditional love and companionship.Regardless of the challenges mentioned above, 77% of dog owners agreed their dog has helped them get through the pandemic, so stay positive! As you spend more time together and learn more about pet care, you’ll likely feel more confident about keeping your furry friend happy and healthy for years to come.