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Tips to help reduce stress in pets during COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted at 7:47 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 19:47:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — While the stay-at-home order and COVID-19 pandemic can cause people to get cabin fever and feel stressed, your pets may be feeling the same thing.

With too many changes, like an owner working from home or not being able to go to the dog park, experts say pets may lose their coping mechanisms, according to a press release from Indianapolis Animal Care and Services.

IACS and Paws and Play Dog Resort and Training Center in Fishers provided the following tips to help your pets in the press release:

  • Keep your pet's routine in mind. If you typically feed them three times a day, try to stick to that schedule.
  • Having you home 24 hours a day could lead to extra stress for animals.
  • Some common signs of stress in a dog include flat ears, side or half-moon eyes, licking their lips, heavy panting, pacing, excess shedding, avoiding close contact, and trying to pull away during cuddling or petting.
  • To help reduce stress in your pets, give them something to do, like their favorite toy or something mentally challenging.
  • If you don't have toys for them, use treats to practice commands, like sit, down, shake, or give a high-five.

“One commonly misconstrued stress signal is a wagging tail," said Summer Carr, lead reservation specialist for Paws and Play, in the release. "A slow or rapidly wagging tail in a low or very high position could be an indicator of stress, depending on the situation and the rest of the body language."

Exercise is a great way to help take your dog away from worrying, Carr and Kayla Aaron, resort manager, say.

“Combining mental and physical activity wrapped in one is the best way to give your dog an energy outlet from any possible stress or anxiety they may be having,” Aaron said in the release.

For more information on stress in pets, you can visit Paws and Plays website.