Varsha Verma with Rocky
COVID-19 crisis has given all of us some unprecedented extra time to spend with our loved ones and our pets are most happy with this change. Here are a few ways to keep your pooch happy and healthy at home. -by Varsha Verma

Rocky, our four-year-old Pomeranian, is so happy to see all of us home. He loves to snooze with us all day long, watch late night web series with us, oversleep in the morning and just laze around the day. Though he does miss his daily walks, he has been a constant delight for all of us. There are times when we get anxious or frustrated but his crazy antics and his unconditional love have kept us sane and hearty. Since we all are indoors, we all need to take extra care of our mental and physical health, including our pets. Here are a few ways to keep our pet healthy and happy at home.
Short walks in closed areas: You can take frequent short walks with your pooch in closed compounds or around your building. Just make sure to clean his paws after the walk.
Play some indoor games: Since we cannot take our dogs outside, it is important to utilise their energies in some indoor game, more so for puppies. Hide their treats and let them sniff around. Games to play are Hide and Seek, Retrieve and Fetch, etc.
Teach new tricks: Your dog is never too old to learn a new trick. It will also mentally stimulate him and he will be happy to please you as well.
Let him play on his own: Give them a Kong toy or something which keeps him occupied for a long time.
Let him peep outside the window or balcony: Pets love to be outside. Let them peep out from a window or a balcony. They will be happy to see other pets, strays or just humans going around. Rocky loves to bark at other dogs he sees and at times, I have also seen him gazing at another dog with his tail wagging profusely. Let your pet have his moment too!
Toilet training: Since most of our pets are used to relieving themselves outdoors, it might be difficult for both dogs and pet parents. Designate a place in the balcony or on the terrace where your pet can relieve himself. Accidents do occur but do not rebuke him for the same. Clean the area properly.
Handling destructive behaviour: Dogs tend to chew due to boredom. Give them dog-friendly toys to chew on. Keep a watch on what he chews. Give him a firm ‘No’ when he chews on inappropriate thing.
Give balanced meals: Stock up on pet food and keep a check on pet friendly diet the help of your vet.
Feed him at his normal timings: Dogs love their routine. So, make it a point to feed them at their normal timings.
Let the sleeping dogs lie: If your dog loves to sleep his way into the afternoon, let him do that. Do not disturb him. Give him his space. Whenever Rocky wants some time alone, he slips under the bed. That’s an indication he wants to be left alone…undisturbed. Respect his privacy.
Ignore your pooch at times: Yes, you read it right. Dogs tend to demand too much attention sometimes. It is best to ignore them at times.
Keep a check on his vaccination chart: See that your pet gets his vaccinations on time. Talk to your vet if it’s due.
Never abandon him: There were quite a few cases where dogs were abandoned by pet parents as they were not able to care for them. This is extremely trying for your pet. In case you find an abandoned dog on the street, contact an animal welfare organisation.
Keep normal routine in mind: Once the COVID-19 crisis gets over, we all will get back to our normal routines. This can cause separation anxiety in your dogs. So, it is advisable that you let dogs spend brief period of time alone.
Cuddle together: There’s nothing like the ‘jaadu ki jhappi’. Cuddle together with your pooch. It is therapeutic for both you and your pooch.