Keeping your pandemic pet, as things get back to normal-ish

Pets helped us cope with the pandemic by easing stress, fighting depression and loneliness, giving us reasons to exercise and play, and just being great companions. Now that stay-at-home orders are lifting, America’s pet care community wants to help your transition your pandemic pet to a lifelong part of your family.

Are you going back to work full-time?

Get them used to your workday routine now. Leave them alone for gradually longer periods every day. Feed and exercise at consistent time. Train them to use litter boxes and outdoor areas. Introduce puzzles, interactive toys and other products for enrichment or separation anxiety to help keep pets happy and busy.

Did your financial situation change?

Many shelters, rescues, national, state and local organizations offer low-cost veterinary services and pet food assistance programs. Look for discounts and coupons. Many pet store loyalty programs offer promotions and rewards that can also help keep costs down. Explore money-saving options like food and litter subscriptions. Consider pet insurance for veterinary care.

Was your pet a short-term foster and not a permanent plan?

Answering the urgent call to provide a temporary home to a pet in need may actually have turned into them rescuing you. Keeping your quarantine foster can improve your mental and physical health for years to come. The shelter or rescue you fostered from can provide advice and assistance to help keep this pet, as can your local pet store.

Are you questioning if the pet is the right fit for your family?

The right personality and lifestyle fit is important. However, if it’s a behavioral issue, most can be modified with the help of a trainer, animal behaviorist, online training sessions or even free training videos on YouTube.

Proudly supporting responsible pet ownership

If you simply can’t keep your pet, your first steps should be to contact who you obtained it from, as they may want to take back or rehome the pet themselves. If that doesn’t work or isn’t an option, try and responsibly rehome the pet before taking it to a shelter by reaching out to local rescue groups, or asking friends and family if they, or anyone they know and trust, is looking for a new pet.

(source: PIJAC)