Get a paw up over pandemic stress: 3-plus benefits of professional daycare for your pup and you
Our pets are the friends that answer our calls during inconvenient times or show up big when things get tough or ugly. So, during the isolation and upheaval of the pandemic, many of us are relying more than ever on our pups’ uninterrupted and unadulterated love for stability and comfort. Last month, National Geographic featured a trio of research findings from the U.K., Spain, and Israel, which set out to define exactly how prolonged lockdowns amid persistent COVID-19 outbreaks were affecting the already complex dynamics among pups and parents. The results were mixed; first, the positives that support what owners live and sense by heart:
- 87% of those surveyed agreed with the following statement: “My animal has helped me cope emotionally during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
- 73% of those surveyed agreed that their buddy “keeps me fit and active” as “normalcy” continues to remain out of reach
Researchers also isolated concerning “trends” surfacing from isolation, when pet and parent have little physical or brain space between them:
- Almost half of those surveyed (49%) said their pet was the reason they kept in touch with some people on social media
- 62% said their pet’s quality of life had actually decreased, despite all of the “together time”
- Four of every 10 pet owners also reported behavioral changes among their pets; these changes were particularly pronounced among dogs with a prior history of behavior-related issues
Does all of this sound a little too “close to home” for you? There is no better time to join the PUPS family than now! Alternately, what better time to get into a healthy habit if it’s been a while since your pup was enrolled in daycare services? Just because you may be doing “all things from home,” does not necessarily mean that you should be doing all things under your roof. Our comprehensive, professional approach to puppy daycare may be just what the doctors (family physicians and veterinarians) order!
“So many times, people have a one-sided viewpoint on dog daycare,” said Daniel Rubenstein, our founder and CEO (better known as “Doggie Dan” within the PUPS Pet Club community).” “We look at both sides, the benefits of dog daycare during the pandemic to you and your dog.”
Benefit No. 1: We do the exercising for you!
You, as a pet parent, may share in the anxiety suffered by so many others during the pandemic: “Is my dog getting enough exercise?” This is a very real concern because as outbreaks linger and spaces remain closed or with inconsistent hours, options to work your pup into healthy panting are limited. Even as parks come to life again, you may remain concerned about exposing yourself and your loved ones to potential infections during walks. A safe and secure daycare service minimizes those concerns. Your pup has opportunities to play with others within dedicated, uber-sterilized facilities, and with our highly-trained staff.
And just as you may have fallen victim to the “Quarantine 15,” your puppy maybe a little rounder in the middle. In partnership with global research firm, Kelton, Hill’s Pet Nutrition noted the pandemic is fueling pet obesity – which was already at “epidemic proportions” prior to COVID-19 being a household name. Almost half of the veterinarians consulted for this survey said that it is harder for pet parents to keep their fur-babies at a healthy weight during the pandemic. Ninety-one percent recommended more exercise, which is again where our staff comes in to give them plenty of love through attention and playing, not through their stomachs (read: table-scraps and treats!).
Benefit No. 2: Satiate the hunger to socialize
As we lean on our pets, we may be relying less on our one COVID-free outlet for human contact: social media platforms (see bullet point No. 3!). Look, we know your fur-ball is the cat’s meow. We get to know him or her by name well before we may even remember your name. However, consider daycare as an opportunity for you to re-engage you’re your friends, or with geographically distanced colleagues. As Zoom fatigue has led to fewer tech-mediated meetings, you can become increasingly isolated all over again. While pup is away, you can reconnect without interruption — and you know what we mean. Inevitably, your quiet, well-behaved pup becomes a barking, spinning mess the moment you hop on Microsoft Teams or answer your boss’s phone call.
Obviously, your pup thinks you are pretty tail-wagging impressive as well! But, the fact is, there is no replicating dog-to-dog interactions. As close as our trainers get to “speaking their language,” we are not “their kind.” “Like humans,” Doggie Dan reminds us, “dogs are very social beings who like to interact with their friends. There is no safer and cleaner place to do that than at PUPS.” And, at PUPS’ modern yet warm and inviting facilities, your baby forges new relationships or reconnects with old ones in an environment built around his or her needs. For instance, we pair your dog with buddies that are similarly sized and with like personalities to keep the fun in daycare and playcare.
Benefit No. 3: Get your well-behaved puppy back
The last thing you need right now is the stress of frequent work interruptions or the spike in your blood pressure that occurs when another chunk of the coffee table or couch goes missing. We help to keep your frustrations in check, by providing an outlet for you and your pup. If you have noticed “accidents” and other nasty habits rearing their ugly head, being around other dogs in a safe setting where they can just be dogs, may work wonders on your bored, anxious, and stressed pet. It will also work wonders on your hypertension, and on your home furnishings budget.
As to your pup, he may be acting out due to any number of things. We know our tongue- and tail-wagging mates soak up our emotions like sponges. The more emotionally dependent we are on them, the more they seem to sop up whatever we are feeling – those fears, uncertainties, anxieties, sadness, and so on. Some new fears and apprehension are directly related to pets, ranging from “How will I pay for my pet’s food if I lose my job?” to “Who will take care of my dog if I get sick?” Pups are not “panaceas”; the loneliness they may help to assuage at the moment may make way for new fears brought on by economic, job, and public health volatility over the longer term.
If we can help to relieve some of those fears, your buddy is all the better for it – fewer emotions for him or her to absorb! We at PUPS reinforce good behaviors and take notice (and action) about the bad ones. In fact, if we think your pet could use a little training touch-up, we’ll say so! There is no other furball quite like yours. And, just like you, his or her overall well-being evolves due to circumstances. As much as we may need to retrain your pup, the hard part may be retraining how you respond to puppy’s actions.
Rotten behavior may be more than meets the eye
Yes, your pup may be “acting out” due to the subtle cues that he picks up from you. It is in their nature. After all, the first domesticated dogs to readily respond to our ancestors had a paw up over their aloof counterparts, who didn’t respond as readily to unspoken cues and commands. Like highly stressed or depressed people, hyper-stressed dogs are of considerable concern, and these emotions can manifest as physical problems. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol, for instance, can affect hair growth. We also recognize that behavioral changes can be manifestations of medical conditions. Inappropriate urination, for example, may be something as simple and commonplace as a Urinary Tract Infection, or indicative of another underlying illness. Any condition that causes pain can understandably also make your dog more snippy, moody, or withdrawn. Remember the last time you had a horrible toothache, or your joints hurt? You were probably not on your best behavior then, either!
Fortunately, the PUPS family includes WellCare Veterinary Services, which is staffed by Board-certified veterinary oncologist partner, Dr. Tiffany Leach. Dr. Tiff is available to evaluate your pet and determine if she or he has other needs for medical care that go beyond, or work in tandem, with re-socializing and behavioral modification. We are big believers in multi-modal care, which recognizes that all of our professionals are better together, rather than as one. Our walkers, groomers, trainers, and veterinarian all work as a team to determine the best (often multi-faceted, always tailored) solution for your pet. We look forward to seeing you and your pup so much happier and healthier on the “other side” (of the pandemic). We encourage you to explore our many membership options, and we welcome your questions.