How has the Global Lockdown Affected the Wildlife?

With humans safely enclosed inside homes, urban wildlife and vegetation are taking over the streets. Vegetation slowly reclaims large cities, while deer foxes and other small animals roam the streets.

The closest we’ll ever get to this scenario will be in an actual apocalypse. Although New York City isn’t exactly roamed by Zombies like in ‘I am Legend,’ one can feel the same eeriness when walking down the street.

In San Francisco, coyotes—normally scared away by cars— are traipsing across the desolate Golden Gate Bridge. In the Welsh town of Llandudno, mountain goats are moving in. In Barcelona, wild boar have infiltrated the city center. Jackals were seen roaming around Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Jackals in Tel Aviv

Although urban wildlife is thriving at this time of lockdown, the animals which depend on the specific environmental condition are likely suffering. Specialist wildlife requires specific foods or environmental conditions, and the specialists are the species that are generally of conservation concern.

Lockdown has affected the Wildlife

With lockdown in effect, it has adversely affected the ecotourism industry-funded conservation efforts. In Namibia, tourism accounts for 16 percent of employment. In Tanzania, protected lands cover over a quarter of the country’s total area. But in the last few weeks, these tourism industries have declined.

The slump in tourism is likely to stay in place until September at least, according to the Nature Conservancy. Without tourists, they are less likely to pay salaries for the security guards who protect animals from poachers.

Many experts fear that facing massive unemployment, people in the tourism industry may themselves turn to poach to feed their families.

Matt Brown, Africa regional managing director for the Nature Conservancy said,

Anything with a horn right now, like rhinos, is at risk of being poached. The concern is that we're going to lose the last 10 years of good conservation work—and an increase in animal numbers—quickly because of this.

Mountain goats in Wales

Animals in Captivity are suffering

Animals that are kept in human captivity for entertainment or other commercial purposes are suffering from the lockdown. Although keeping animals in human captivity is outright wrong, many animals who already are living in captivity are suffering from a lack of human attention.

Amusement parks which employ animals such as dolphins, penguins, and seals are mostly suffering from lack of tourist. Without tourists, the parks aren’t able to feed the animal. Many experts are of the opinion that the owners of amusement parks or other forms of human captivity must release the animals to their natural habitat.

Natasha Daly, a writer for National Geographic, says the decline in tourism is a global issue that will continue to affect the animal industry in uneven ways. And smaller facilities will face a heavier burden than larger, more established ones.

She fears that it’s a very real concern that many of these animals that are languishing in some of these substandard facilities around the world may not be getting the care or food or veterinary attention that they would if the facilities had the sort of money coming in that they’re used to.

Some desperate animals have been recorded wandering into city centers in search of food. This can do harm to both them and the local resources.

How COVID-19 Pandemic has prevented the consumption of Exotic Animals?

As we all know, the first case of COVID-19 transmission began in the wet market of Wuhan Province in China. Experts are of the opinion that the zoological virus transmitted from a Pangolin to the animal, while others are of the opinion that the virus first transmitted after eating a bat’s meat.

According to NewsWeek.com,

In Shenzhen, China, a law was passed banning the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat, which will come into effect on May 1. Known as the "Shenzhen Special Economic Region Regulation on a Comprehensive Ban on the Consumption of Wild Animals," the legislation was passed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also bans the consumption, breeding, and sale of wildlife for human consumption in the city—including snakes, lizards, and other wild animals.

Another animal that enjoys the recent ban in the pandemic is the pangolin—a mammal that has protective scales on its body made of keratin, which is the same material as human nails.

Pangolin is a mammal wholly-covered in scales. The animal found in the wild or sanctuaries depends on the diet of ants, termites, and larvae.

Unfortunately, the pangolin is one of the most trafficked animals in the world. Many smugglers traffic pangolins from Asia and African nations to the popular black market of China and Vietnam. Their meat is considered a delicacy and is used in traditional medicine.

Although the animal is regarded as an endangered species and is protected under national and international laws, animal meat is flourishing in the black market.

However, COVID-19 has forced the Chinese government to put a temporary ban on trading and eating many wild animals, including pangolins.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says that two of the African species of the pangolin are considered vulnerable and two are endangered. It also shows that of the Asian species, one is endangered and the other three are critically endangered.

With the prolonging lockdown, many people are expected to lose jobs. This may include jobs held by experts and caretakers who look after wildlife species inside the conservation area, sanctuaries, animal parks, etc. With dwindling manpower and lack of resources, the upkeep of the animal may see a large problem.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Supply & Resort, a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines. To ensure you and your pets’ safety during this pandemic, we can provide useful tips and resources online.

How Can You and Your Pet Beat the Self-Quarantine Stress?

Each one of us is contemplating when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over. Staying in a self-quarantine state can be one of the most boring and stressful things. One of the burning issues of staying put at home every day is the claustrophobia.

Like us humans, pets feel claustrophobic too! Being confined in a single space for a long time can equally increase stress in animals. Most pets such as dogs resort to incessant panting, pacing, and whining when suffering from claustrophobia.

An estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet. During the time of self-quarantine, you have an opportunity to beat stress and claustrophobia by indulging in playful activities with your pets.

How Dogs can cope with Self-quarantine stress?

Canine have been domesticated for over 10,000 years. They are bred in such a way that they require enough attention, time, and dedication. When left away for a long time, they can develop signs of frustration.

Claustrophobia in dogs is the fear of restriction and can vary in intensity from one dog to another. Whether a dog will develop this fear is influenced by their genetics, conditioning, as well as the amygdala in their brain. The amygdala plays a major role because it’s responsible for fear conditioning, as well as the flight or fight response.

Dogs aren’t used to sitting in a confinement for a long time. They want their owners to play with them or provide attention which isn’t possible when they are working from home.

Remus a blue heeler/collie mix owned by Jerin Henderson situated in Portland, Texas has started withdrawing from its regular life. As Jerin is spending more time working, he's not able to spend more time playing with Remus.

Remus started whining a lot lately. It started sleeping underneath the bed for a few days. It came as a surprise because Remus always slept with him on the same bed.

How to prevent self-quarantine stress in dogs?

  • Take them to an open area to calm down but do not let them off the lead as they are likely to run.
  • Talk calmly in a low voice to settle them and avoid large reactions.
  • When at home, avoid using doors to contain the dog. Instead, opt for gates that they can see out of, making them less likely to trigger.

Cats are looking for Me-Time

In the case of cats, it’s mostly the opposite. Cats are a more solitary animal and they enjoy their me-time.

A house cat Karban owned by Hirow Peralta situated in Charleston, South Carolina started showing awkward behavior. Karban was used to having the whole house to itself when Hirow went out to work. It enjoyed sitting inside the house, but since Hirow started spending her entire time home, Karban started becoming restless.

Hirow wrote in Twitter

“she so tired of me being home she became an outside cat."

Karban who never left home started escaping the confinement and spend more time on the roof.

How to provide me-time for Cats?

  • Increase the physical distance between you and your cat. This can include working in a different room or space in a house.
  • If you share the same space such as a studio apartment, give your cats something to play with or keep it occupied.

How Pet Owners can cope with Self-quarantine Stress?

The self-quarantine time has been equally difficult for pet owners. Most of us struggle with working from home while trying to balance time with pets. It’s likely for people to experience claustrophobia when we have to spend the entire day inside the home.

At such dire time, spending more time with pets has been linked with beating self-quarantine stress for both pets and pet owners.

An estimated 17.3 million adults suffer from major depression, according to the latest National Institute of Mental Health data.

Research also has shown that people who don’t feel connected to others are more likely to catch a cold, develop heart disease, have a lower cognitive function, and live shorter lives.

How owning a pet can help with beating stress and depression?

The companionship of pets such as cats and dogs in daily life can help prevent frustration and depression. It has always been attested by different scientific communities.

  • Interacting with animals on a regular basis helps to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Pet can be a great companion. They can help reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.
  • Owning a physical active pet such as dogs and cats can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, and encourage exercise and playfulness. Playing with your pet can improve your cardiovascular health.
  • Playing with and caring for an animal can be more beneficial for children at the time of self-quarantine. It can help them grow up more secure and active.
  • Spending time with pets can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which will calm and relax you.
  • Companionship will prevent the onset of stress and depression. Caring for a live animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Most dog and cat owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles.
  • Taking a dog for a walk, hike or run is a fun and rewarding way to stay fit and healthy. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements—and exercising every day is great for the animal as well. It will deepen the connection between you, eradicate most behavior problems in dogs, and keep your pet fit and healthy.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Supply & Resort, a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines, to find more useful tips and ideas on beating self-quarantine stress. To ensure you and your pets’ safety during this pandemic, we can provide useful tips and resources online.

How to keep your pets occupied during the lockdown?

There is a lot of news coming out about pet owners struggling to stay home with their pets. Most pet owners are finding it hard to find new activities to keep their pets indulged throughout the day.

One thing pet owners can worry less about the pandemic is that there are no cases of COVID in pets. Scientists confirmed that pets such as dogs and cats are less likely to contract COVID-19. However, they are prone to different types of coronaviruses, but that has nothing to do with the current outbreak of COVID-19.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no animals in the US have been identified with the virus, and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can spread COVID-19.

How to keep your pets occupied during the Lockdown?

Here is a guide for the pet owners to help make things a little easier for their pets. We have broken down the guide according to the animal you own.

Dog

Here is how you can keep your dog occupied.

Search Games: No games are ever outdated for dogs. At this time of lockdown, you can create a game such as hiding treats or toys around the house for your dog to find. This will help to keep them on their feet and stimulate their brain.

Shell game: This is a popular mental stimulus. Place three plastic cups upside-down on the floor and hide a treat or toy under a cup. Move the cups around each other. Let your dog find the treat or toy by point out any of the cups.

Chewing: Chewing is the natural behavior of dogs. Give them chews such as Kongs to keep them busy for hours, as well as helping to maintain good dog dental hygiene.

Teach basic commands: This can be the best time to train your dog. You can begin with basic commands such as "sit", "stay", "come," “leave,” etc. If you need help delegating the commons, you can always refer to certified pet training channels on YouTube.

Teach names: Give toys names and ask your dog to fetch "teddy", "ball", or "dolly" and put them in a box.

Cat

Unlike dogs, cats have different ways to keep themselves occupied. However, if you wish to spend some quality and productive time with your cat, you can follow these guides.

Agility: Agility exercise can be very useful for cats. You can find many great videos on YouTube about Do-it-yourself agility exercises. You can find many timed obstacle courses online.

Fishing games: Turn some string into a kind of fishing rod. Fix a shuttlecock at the end of it and then swing it through the room. Your cat will love chasing it!

Clicker training: Training basic command to cats is very different from training basic commands to dogs. You can teach your cat a lot with clicker training like few tricks such as "come" and "high five."

Ball games: Cats love to chase or catch anything that moves. Throwing a bouncy ball against the wall will keep your cat busy for hours trying to catch it.

Torch game: Use a torch or laser-light to make a spot dart around the room and let your cat indulge her passion for ‘hunting’ it.

Small Animals

Small animals may include hamsters, mice, and rabbits. Here is how you can keep them occupied.

Obstacle courses: Build a small and safe obstacle course using a few small boxes made out of cardboard or paper of different heights with treats on top of them, so that your pet is kept busy finding the treats.

Hide-and-seek: This game works well if the incentive is to find food treats. Just spread a few healthy snacks around the room for your pet to find.

Hunt game: Tie a piece of apple or any other fruit and food that your pet fancies to a tight ribbon and pull it across the room to get your pet to ‘hunt’ the fruit.

Frequently Asked Questions

During the time of the pandemic, pet owners are worried about their pet’s health.  Here are some of the answers to frequently asked questions by the pet owners.

How can I keep my dog in a routine while I’m working from home?

With both pets and pet owners inside the house, it’s hard to find time to keep up with the usual schedule such as work, eat, or exercise. Pet’s need optimum physical and mental stimulation to keep them healthy.

Although you’re home trying to maintain the regular schedule. Ensuring your dog has as normal a routine as possible is really important. When they get used to the unusual schedule during the lockdown, it can be hard for them to cope with a regular schedule post-lockdown.

It will also help to get your dog into a routine if you try to start and finish work at the same time each day and take your break/lunch at the same sort of time. When you’re home, try to spend more with your pet indulging in the activities you missed. You can indulge in different types of games or training sessions.

Can I walk my dog outside?

US Government has outlined that healthy people who don’t have symptoms can go outside and exercise within 2km of their homes, once they practice social distancing.

If you have a backyard or empty spaces around your house, you can always take your pet outside. This can be true for the suburbs; however, if you live in a dense city, you must practice precautions before going out.

Keep your dog on-lead when out walking and don’t be afraid to ask people not to pet your dog to ensure you stay at least two meters apart from other people at all times.

You should avoid parks or open spaces where your dog might wander off. Keep your dog on the lead. Don’t forget to pick up after your dog and wash your hands thoroughly when you are back inside.

Can I walk my dog off the lead?

It can be a bad idea to walk your dog off lead mainly because they can wander off. When the strict rules are placed on movement, it is important that you adhere to traveling long distances.

If you use a long lead, we’d suggest slowly introducing a short lead – this can be done by slowly limiting their distance from you, using positive rewards to let them know they are doing a good job!

Your daily walk is a good time to spend quality time with your dog. Wherever possible, try to give them your undivided attention.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Supply & Resort, a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines, to find more useful tips and ideas on keeping your pets happy. To ensure you and your pet's safety during this pandemic, we can provide useful tips and resources online.

Benefits of being a Cat Owner

Owning a pet is the greatest pleasure in the world. According to a scientific study, owning a pet is linked to better mental health. Along with helping your mental stimulation, keeping a cat ensures a friendly environment at home.

DID YOU KNOW? Cat is the most popular pet in the United States. More people own cats than dogs. 86% of the household owns about 85 million cats according to the National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).

Let’s take a look at the benefits of owning a pet, especially a cat.

Benefits of Being a Cat Owner

Here are ten of the most essential benefits of owning a cat.

1. Owning a feline is better for the environment

Cats are environment-friendly pets. They account for almost zero carbon emissions. If you're worried about the carbon footprint, it’s better to own a cat than a dog. The resources such as food, shelter, and clothes required for a cat is way much lesser than owning a dog. Resources needed to pet a dog over the course of its lifetime create the same eco-footprint as that of a Land Cruiser.

Cats have smaller appetite compared to dogs and are more likely to eat small choices of food. The pet healthcare cost associated with a cat is lesser than other pets as well.

2. Cope with your emotional stress

We all go down the bad phase of life where we might lose the loved one, get separated with a confidant, lose a lifetime opportunity, or feel in despair. Cats have been shown to help people get over their loss more quickly.

Owning a pet, in general, helps to cope with emotional difficulty. Despite being an animal, they can serve as social support. The best thing about pets is that they do not judge you like a human or leave you at your worst.

3. Help find a partner

A British survey found that 82% of women are more attracted to men who like animals such as dogs and cats.

Many women chose a cat over a dog. Whopping 90 percent of single women said that men with cats as pets are “nicer.” Even if you aren’t able to find a partner, you can always rely on the company of your pet.

4. Survey says, “Cat Owners are Smarter”

It’s isn’t true that owning a cat makes you outright smart, but when you are a dedicated person who delves into longer work and study hours, owning a cat can be the best thing for you.

A 2010 survey of British pet owners by the University of Bristol found that people who owned cats were more likely to have college degrees.

The time spent in caring for other pets like a dog can consume a lot of time. Tending a cat requires way less time compared to other pets, hence giving more time for the pet owner to focus on other important things.

5. A Healthy Heart

Owning a pet is linked to a healthy heart! Cats, in particular, can lower your stress level and lower the amount of anxiety in your life. A scientific study over a 10-year period concluded that the cat owners were 30 percent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners. Although it may require further scientific research, it is proven that owning a pet can lower your stress level. Time to adopt a new cat now!

6. Fulfill your need for Companionship

Each of us seeks companionship! What better to fulfill that by adopting a cat? Caressing a cat and receiving the same kind of affection back can fulfill your companionship needs.

An Austrian study conducted in 2003 found that having a cat in the house is the emotional equivalent of having a romantic partner.

Unlike dogs, cats are more likely to be demanding and stubborn. An interesting scientific study conluded that:

After thousands of years of domestication, cats have learned how to make a half purr/half howl noise that sounds remarkably like a human baby’s cry. And since our brains are programmed to respond to our children’s distress, it is almost impossible to ignore what a cat wants when it demands it like that.

7. They tell a lot about your personality

Your choice of pet reveals a lot about your personality. As per the study conducted, most dog owners are found to have a more extrovert life, while the cat owners are quieter and more introverted.

Cat owners score highly when it comes to being trustworthy, less manipulative, and modest.

8. Sleep Better

Sleeping with a pet around is linked with quality sleep and healthy pattern. A study in UK found women preferred to sleep with their cats than with their partners. It has to do with a sense of security, companionship, and safety.

A study conducted by Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine indicates that 41 percent of the people in that study told that they slept better because of their pet, while only 20 percent said that it led to disturbances.

9. Fewer Allergies

The National Institutes of Health released a study in 2002 that children under a year old who were exposed to a cat were less likely to develop allergies

High pet exposure early in life can protect against not only pet allergy but also other types of common allergies. Marshall Plaut, M.D., chief of the allergic mechanisms section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases concludes this in his research.

Although there might be a chance of contracting cat-related diseases such as cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii, experts say that by changing your cat’s litter box every day and keeping them indoors, you will remain safe!

10. They can Save Your Life

Cats are infamous for their reputation of remaining aloof and not caring about their humans. But in certain cases, they were known to have saved lives.

A cat in the UK warns her human companion when he’s about to have an epileptic seizure. A cat in Montana woke up its two humans when a gas pipe started leaking. Firefighters told the couple that the house could easily have exploded if not for cat’s intervention.

Throughout history, cats have received the highest medals for their bravery and smartness.

How to keep your cats happy?

Here are five ways you can keep your cats happy.

  • Respect their space
  • Provide entertainment like playthings or toys
  • Feed them right. Feeding right means the right food at a right time.
  • Keep their teeth in check
  • Go outdoor with them

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier pet hospital specializing in pet care services in Des Moines. Get in touch with us to know more about pet care, vaccination and therapies, and diet plans.