With people stuck in their homes due to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, a number of hoomans are becoming first-time pet owners. Adoption and foster rates continue to increase in different parts of the world.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reported a nearly 70 percent increase in animals fostered and adopted compared with the same period last year.

“When the pandemic first hit, unprecedented numbers of people signed up to foster animals,” Julie Castle, the chief executive of Best Friends Animal Society, told The New York Times. “Some shelters completely emptied their kennels for the first time ever. In the middle of a crisis, many groups saved more lives than they ever had before. As we start to open up our communities, there is no reason we cannot keep these positive gains we made during the pandemic.”

If you are thinking of adopting an animal or you are a first time pet parent, here are few things you should know in keeping them safe and healthy.

1.Pet-proof your homes

If you are going to have another member in the family, you better make sure you pet-proof it just like when you have a newborn baby in the house. Make sure there are no cords that can wrap around your pet’s neck and put all those vases and any pointy things like knives and scissors out of reach.

Get rid of any toxic plants like daisies, daffodils and other potted plants, because cats and dogs can become ill if they eat them.

2. Socialize your pet

Becky Robinson, president and founder of nonprofit advocacy group Alley Cat Allies, told the New York Times that it is easier to bring in a new kitty now as people have more time at home.

For cats, she recommended adopting two cats, but only if they have been bonded. Some kittens actually prefer to be alone and may enjoy having the house all to themselves when its hoomans get back to work.

Dogs, on the other hand, should get lots of walks.

“Take your puppy for walks while maintaining a safe social distance,” said Katy Mahaley, dog trainer and animal behavior counselor. “Mix up your routes. Go out in all types of weather. Walk on different types of surfaces so your puppy continually experiences new things. Keep at least six feet away when walking past other people and dogs.”

3. Prepare the right food.

To be sure on what food to give to the new member of your family, it is advisable to always ask for your veterinarian’s suggestion. There are several brands that you can choose from. What’s more important to remember is not to overfeed your pets and establish a feeding schedule.

4. Schedule veterinary visits

Animal shelter may have already given some cats and dogs its vaccinations, so it’s important to ask them about it when you foster or adopt them. If not, always check with your veterinarian about the needed vaccines, boosters and spaying and neutering.

5. Make time for exercise and other activities

“Boredom and excess energy are two common reasons for undesirable behavior in pets,” Mahaley said. “Go for walks, runs and hikes with your dog or play interactive games like fetch.”

You might want to read:
– Tips to keep your pets safe during storm season
– Tips for finding the perfect companion animal for your family
– 5 tips to keep your pets sane after the pandemic