From zooming into Zoom work meetings and starring in must-see viral TikToks to being summoned to “join” Facetime calls and filling our social feeds with aww-inducing images (we know we’re not alone in scoping this and this every day), our pets are the stars of the show during these long days of social distancing. (Which in the minds of most cats is about halfway to the level of adoration they deserve, and dogs, well, they’re just happy being happy.)
Beyond being completely captivating and totally entertaining housemates, pets are also helping humans stay connected, something that’s a challenge when options for interaction are limited.
If you’re a pet parent and want to make the most of your time while you’re doing the right thing and staying home as much as your life will allow, try these six activities with your pet that will help you stay connected. Your friends and family will thank you later.
Have Your Pet Star in a Live Stream
Thank dogness for technology. Who knew that watching your friend’s Yorkie sleeping away a Tuesday afternoon could be so riveting! That’s why we love pet cameras, especially the ones that allow multiple people to access at once, so your friends and family can watch your pet with you. Your pet’s captured audience can even get in on all the fun if you opt for a pet camera with a built-in laser, treat dispenser, or microphone. You can also stream your pet on Facebook Live with pet cameras like PetCube.
No pet camera? Here are six animal live streams you and your human and pet pack can all watch together from wherever you are.
Post Your Pet on TikTok
TikTok is the latest trending social networking app and is undoubtedly a guilty pleasure way to pass time, especially during social distancing. The app lets you scroll seamlessly through thousands of user-generated short videos that can be anything from thought-provoking to rolling-on-the-floor funny. Not to be a stage parent here, but I think all my pets—and yours too—are pretty darn cute and totally TikTok worthy. So, post some pet videos… like today. Your dog has a great singing voice? Perfect—put it on TikTok. Your cat did something funny the other day? That’s great, you can record yourself telling the story.
Once you hit “Upload” in your menu bar you can start creating your masterpiece. Here, you can add fun filters and effects to your video, adjust the speed and, most importantly, select the sound you want to use. Your video can either be :15 to :60 seconds, or you can choose one of the templates provided. When you’re ready to upload, add your hashtags and privacy settings, then—congratulations! You’ve made your very own TikTok! (With the help of your pet, of course).
For inspiration, check out some of the many pet TikToks going viral right now. Be forewarned, they’re addicting.
Here's four we can't stop watching:
My cat is sneaky - @lifeoftori_
Make an Instagram Account for Your Pet
With all the extra time on your hands, now is your best opportunity to throw your energy into creating an Instagram account for your pet. You can work toward the goal of making your pet Insta-famous, or you can use the platform to simply share updates with your friends and family. They’ll love to stay in the loop of how you’re spending your time in quarantine through the eyes of your pet. They’ll also surely appreciate receiving a like or a comment from your dog or cat every once in a while.
In an act of investigative journalism, I created an Instagram account for my adopted French Bulldog, Royce. It took me a total of three minutes to create a new account, but that was before spending an hour voluntarily scouring my photo library for potential posts and snapping a new picture for a feature on Stories. It also took my brother a total of five minutes to follow us back from his private account (he really loves my dog), so that’s a win in my eyes.
View this post on Instagram
Need some inspiration for your pet’s Instagram account? Here are four pet accounts we love:
Curate a Pet Spotify Playlist to Share
To start, you’ll need a Spotify account and then click over to Spotify’s new pet playlists. After filing out a quick assessment of your pet—voilà! The site will generate a unique playlist special to you and your furry friend that you can share on social media and or send it to friends and family.
Better yet, why not curate your own playlist based on suggestions from your friends and family. Once you share it on social media, everyone can keep adding to it to help build on a shared experience that will keep you all connected. You can stick to a theme (you can make it pet-related—like songs about dogs) or you can all choose music you think your pet would like (fun fact: studies have shown pets to prefer classical music over anything else) and share your pet’s reaction with everyone. They’ll surely get a laugh from you and your pet’s antics and may even create one for themselves.
Or, if you just want to plug and play, here are some Chewy Spotify playlists we’ve created for you!
Find Your Pack—Join a Pet Forum
Want to know how other pet parents are dealing with social distancing? Check out a pet forum, like Dog Forum, Cat Forum or /r/dogs (we are a particular fan of the Coronavirus thread happening at the moment) and join the conversation. You might learn something new about your dog and even get a few tried and true quarantine tips from other pet parents. Share your own questions to the forum and you’ll be well on your way to building your own online community.
Make Pet Crafts to Share
While everyone is relying on technology to stay connected, it may be refreshing to opt for a more low-tech method of communication—like snail mail (mail services are considered an essential business and are in operation at the time of this writing). You can get your pet involved in a crafty project—like paw print ornaments (it’s never too early for holiday gifts) or greeting cards—and mail the finished product to your loved ones. Just be sure your package is small enough to fit in a freestanding collection box to avoid entering public postal retail offices.
Pets are magical. They possess a compelling power that is irresistible to humans. Their presence is so impactful it can help build relationships and establish communities that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Think about it: Without your pet you wouldn’t have gotten so close with your groomer, or made friends with the other dog park regulars, for example.
During times of uncertainty, the unifying effect of pets can act as a glue that can help keep us sane and positive. Their ability to bring joy and light to a dark or difficult time is why we should all make an effort to include our pets in our daily lives while sheltered-in-place at home. It could be the key to a happier life while social distancing (and beyond), for both you and your loved ones.