By now we all know about the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, and many of us have quarantined or “social distanced” ourselves at home. How can we make this change less stressful to our pets, and keep them well and happy?
These are confusing times, and it’s sometimes hard to focus on our daily lives when so much has changed. So we’ve put together some Q&As to help you figure things out with your furry fam!
Can The COVID-19 Virus Infect My Pets?
There is currently no evidence that animals, including pets, can be infected with the coronavirus. Reports came from China about dogs who had died after being in contact with the virus, but there’s no evidence that it was from catching the disease, or if it was other environmental or health factors.
It’s highly possible that dogs can spread the virus, however, so you should adopt good hygiene practices around them. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after playing with or grooming your pets. Wash and disinfect their toys and food bowls regularly.
We know you like to love on your beloved furry family member, but you should avoid kissing them or letting them lick you, or eat off your plate. Remember, this is temporary. You’ll be able to smother them with affection and treats once the crisis has passed!
What Should I Do With My Pets While Quarantining?
If you are staying at home, make sure you have enough of what your pets will need – dry food and tins, lots of chews and toys to combat boredom. Kongs are great!
Buy all your usual doggy supplies in bulk if you can, so you won’t have to leave the house too often. Don’t overfeed your animals – it can be tempting to spoil them when you’re feeling stressed, and they’re trapped indoors with you!
Domestic animals are resilient and staying indoors won’t have too much impact on them. They’re mostly just happy to be near you! If you live in an apartment in an area where public dog walking is currently banned, set aside time to get some exercise around the house if you can. Cardio videos on YouTube are great, or just put some music on and encourage your doggo to dance and jump around with you. If you have a yard or garden, lucky you! Run laps, throw balls, play tug, let it all hang out – you probably won’t have many onlookers…
You should also think about who could help if your pet needed to go to the vet. In many cases, it is possible to get help from friends, family or items quickly delivered to your door but thinking about this now can help you be prepared.
What Should I Do with My Pet If I’m Sick, Or Someone in My Family Is Sick?
If you feel ill or test positive for the virus and have to self-quarantine, it’s best to make arrangements for a friend or family member to either take your pet home until you recover, or have them come over to feed and care for them. You don’t want the animal to be neglected if you suffer symptoms that keep you in bed.
Make sure you stay in your bedroom away from others as much as possible, and have no close contact. Encourage them to wear protective gear and wash thoroughly if they come close to you. You’ll have to avoid all contact with your pets while you are positive. This is difficult, and your pooch or kitty might be very confused if they’re used to lots of attention from you. It won’t be forever, though! You should probably recover in a week or so, and resume your normal routine with your pets at home for another week.
Don’t go out to walk your pets within the 14-day period, or even longer if you can possibly bear it. We’re flattening that curve, and every precaution helps to move things along faster!
What Should I Do If My Pet Is Ill?
If your pet is ill or you have any concerns about their health, phone your vet for advice. Most vets will be available to see your guy or gal for emergencies, even if they aren’t open full-time. Don’t just bundle your pet to the vet’s office unless you are told to do so – they might not be prepared for you, and you’ll risk yourself on an unnecessary trip.
Can I Pet Other People’s Animals Or Walk Someone Else’s Dog?
It’s best to avoid interacting with other pets, just in case. If someone’s dog rubs or brushes you, make sure you practice your handwashing, and change your clothes.
If you’re looking after the pet of someone who can’t leave their home, take all the precautions you would take with your own animals. We might be “social distancing”, but there’s no reason you can’t lend a hand to someone in need.