If you have furry family members, you probably have a lot of questions about how to keep them safe during this frightening global COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the answers to the most common questions concerning pets and coronavirus.
- Can pets catch coronavirus?
Pets are susceptible to some types of coronavirus, but there is currently only limited evidence that domestic animals can get sick from this novel form.
A cat in Belgium, a tiger at Bronx Zoo tested positive and were showing symptoms while two asymptomatic dogs in China tested positive; one has since died of unknown causes.
- Will the canine coronavirus vaccine protect my dog from COVID-19?
No, it will not. Many dogs receive the canine coronavirus vaccine during puppyhood or routine vaccinations.
This vaccine protects against enteric coronavirus and is not likely to provide any protection against this novel form of coronavirus which attacks the respiratory system.
- Can my pet transmit coronavirus?
There is no evidence that an infected pet can transmit the virus to humans.
However, the novel coronavirus can stay active on surfaces for extended periods and it may be possible for your pet to transmit the virus the same way it can be transmitted on doorknobs and shopping carts.
- How can I protect my pet if I am sick?
If you contract SARS-CoV-2, limit all interactions with your pet as much as possible. Avoid cuddling, petting, getting licked by, or otherwise close encounters with your animal.
If possible, have a healthy individual in the household care for the animal while you maintain your distance.
- Does my pet need to be quarantined if I’m sick?
Due to the unlikely chance that your pet might be able to transmit the virus, health officials have recommended quarantining your pet if you do fall ill.
They should be kept in the house with you, though it is preferable that another member of the household care for them while you are isolated to a separate area of the home.
- What should I do if my pet appears to be sick?
If your dog becomes ill after being in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19, call your public health official for guidance.
If they advise you to bring your dog to the vet, call your vet first to let them know the situation. They will need to prepare for the very unlikely chance your dog has contracted the novel coronavirus.
- How can I keep my pet healthy?
The change in routine and extra stress you are suffering can increase your pets’ odds of getting sick from many diseases. Make sure to feed a quality diet, exercise your pet as much as possible, and try to reduce their stress.
Vets also recommend making sure they are up to date on their vaccines, especially those meant to protect from other respiratory diseases.
- What do I do if I can’t walk my dog?
If you are under lockdown or quarantine you may not be able to walk your dog for exercise or to potty.
Consider training alternative potty routines now, such as puppy pads or artificial grass pads, to prepare for this possibility. Utilize treat balls, training games, and other indoor pet games to keep your pup stimulated.
- Should I still board my pet or use doggy daycare?
There is a very low likelihood that your pet would catch SARS-CoV-2 while being boarded or while at dog daycare.
However, there is a possibility of virus transmission from sick employees to you via your dog. It is best to avoid these facilities unless absolutely necessary.
- What items should I stockpile for my pet?
Purchasing extra bags of food and treats and procuring extra medication if possible for your pet is a good idea. Your vet will likely be willing to write you an advanced script for necessary meds if you ask.
- What should I do if I have to leave my pet?
If you have to travel, make sure to establish a plan with your pet sitter or boarder in case you are held up during travel due to quarantine or lockdown.
If you leave the house, make sure your pet has ID on them and you have written instructions or make a pet dossier for their care posted in case you cannot get back home.
- What other steps should I take to safeguard my pets?
Talk to neighbors and friends about potentially caring for your pets in the event you are hospitalized. Post instructions for their care in your house where they can be easily seen.
But most importantly, try to enjoy your extra time home with your furry friends while you have it.
Now that your questions about coronavirus and pets have been answered, it’s time to take a moment to give your pet a hug and focus on what’s most important.
Written by Leo Wilson.