About the author: Doctor Sharon French is a veterinarian and veterinary dentist with over 35 years of experience. Doctor French is the founder of PuppyViewer.com and helps people make informed choices when it comes to dog ownership and breeder support.
As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and what has become our new normal, I would like to alert everyone to a problem that has always existed but is now more prevalent than ever before when it comes to our precious pups and other household pets.
Veterinary Dentistry During COVID-19
As a veterinary dentist, part of what I do is fixing broken faces.
It is rewarding work – dogs and cats come in with horrible trauma, but due to their “in the moment” mentality, they just carry on. Labradors still find a way to lick your face when their own face is in pieces, and cats continue to groom themselves despite painful, equally disrupted front ends.
We see a lot of pet injuries – falls from heights, collisions with vehicles, and much more. But this year, we have seen far more bite wounds than ever before, typically caused by other dogs within the home.
More Severe Dog Bites Are Happening at Home
Statistics tell us that during the stay-at-home phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw people adopting pets more than ever.
Somehow, our being around all the time led to more distraction and more opportunity for family disharmony with established pets in the home. That disharmony has been life-threatening in many cases.
Thankfully, we have saved them all.
Take Extra Caution and Care When Introducing New Pets to the Home
It is my plea to take extra care when introducing new pets to the home – whether they are cats or dogs. The introduction of a new furry family member may take significant time and always requires vigilance, but it is completely worth it!
Some things to keep in mind:
- Choose a neutral setting when introducing your pet to a new housemate to prevent territorial aggression
- Keep dogs leashed but allow social interaction to happen at a natural pace
- Limit the initial interaction and keep the first meeting brief to avoid overwhelm
- Stay calm and collected – pets can sense our anxiety and tension!
- Be mindful of body language. Do your pets seem stressed or upset? Guarded body language can mean trouble ahead!
- Introduce your furry friends over a period of time in a relaxed manner
- Continue to be vigilant while your pets work on building a new relationship together
It’s also worth noting that in many instances, pet insurance has saved many of these patients and is more than worth thinking about. Talk to your veterinary professional about options available to you.