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Pets and Pandemics

Troubling times, even for pets

These have been troubling times for our pets. Especially the already anxious ones. Their routines have been interrupted, and their humans are home all the time. For some pets, that can be a good thing. For others, not so good.

“Don’t forget that our choices may have psychological effect on our pets,” writes Michael Waters in Vox. Our pets can pick up on our stress and internalize it. They can be stressed because of the increase in wildlife outside the window, more walks than usual, the fact that the television is on for more hours a day, or because the kids are home all day. Even the sudden lack of personal space for a pet at home can be stressful. And, just like us, when they are stressed out, our pets’ behavior changes.

How to adjust?

Pet psychologists suggest helping our pets adjust to this new normal by sticking to daily routines as much as possible, making sure our pets have a quiet, undisturbed place to go to when they need it, and not pushing our pets to perform new tricks or behave in new, different, or strange ways.

And, when life starts to return to normal, they suggest easing your pet back into being alone for major parts of the day by maybe gradually increasing the time you are away from home or having someone check on your pet during the day.

Here are some of the resources on pet behavior you can find at our Nederland library:

The Secret Language of Dogs: unlocking the canine mind for a happier pet
By Victoria Stilwell
The star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog reveals how to both interpret and “speak” the hidden language of dogs. Recent studies into the minds of canines show that they have a rich social intelligence and a physical and vocal language as complex and subtle as our own. (hard copy)

The Genius of Dogs: how dogs are smarter than you think
By Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods
Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and his wife Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets. (hard copy)

Kay Turnbaugh is the webmaster for Nederland Community Library and a local author.

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