Our pets are so much more to us than just animals, and they are truly members of our families. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, lots of people are worrying about the welfare of their pets. Many are left wondering what all of this means for them. Read on for ongoing advice and guidelines.
What is a coronavirus, and can pets catch it?
Coronaviruses are a type of disease that originated in animals. There has been a lot of confusion around COVID-19 and our pets. There are anecdotal stories all over the internet of pets being abandoned due to people’s fears of them catching and spreading the illness, but the research shows that this is very unlikely. Coronaviruses have been affecting many species of animals for hundreds of years, but COVID-19 is a new strain that has mutated in a way in which it binds to the specific receptor cells in the human respiratory system.
Other species are largely unaffected, as the main transmission occurs between human to human. According to Battersea, there are steps you can take if you’re infected with coronavirus to protect your pets, but be reassured that only a handful of animal cases across the globe have been reported during the pandemic.
What to do if your pet is unwell during the pandemic?
While your pet is extremely unlikely to contract COVID-19, they, of course, still can get ill during the pandemic, and experience any other issues that would generally make them unwell. If your pet does get sick, it’s essential to refrain from going straight to the vet. Due to social distancing measures and the fact that we need to work together to keep each other safe, there are some guidelines you should be following. If your pet has become hurt or unwell:
Call or email your vet first.
There are many instances where a vet can help you over the phone; things like repeat prescriptions for medication, flea, and worm treatment and with other easy to diagnose issues. A vet may be able to write you a prescription without you having to come down and have an appointment. If you are experiencing other problems such as skin complaints, consider taking a picture and emailing it to your vet, again there is a chance they can tell you what it is and the treatment needed without you having to go in.
If there is no option but for a vet to see you in person, they will let you know that you need to so you can come in. They can ensure that they are wearing the correct protective equipment which benefits both you and them. COVID-19 can be passed from human to human on animal’s fur, collars, and leashes, so safety is paramount.
If you have symptoms or are self-isolating, get advice.
If your pet is unwell and you (or someone in your household) is self-isolating due to coronavirus, again, get advice from your vet. If your animal does need to see a vet, then it should be arranged for someone to bring them in who is healthy. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with more information on the best way to go about this while keeping everyone safe, and ensuring your pet gets the right care.
Taking care of your pet during lockdown.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in leaving the house and social distancing measures, the way that we look after our pets during lockdown has had to change. Bear in mind the following:
Use common sense
If, for example, you know that your dog has poor recall, then ensure they are always kept on a leash so you don’t have to wander off to go and find them. If you know that your cat has a penchant for climbing and getting stuck in trees, it can be better to keep them at home where you can keep them safe at this time. Organizations such as dog wardens and charities that would ordinarily be able to help reunite you with your missing pet are unlikely to be running right now, so take the right precautions.
Take advantage of the fact that you can currently still exercise once a day; if your dog is used to multiple walks, then each person in the household can take them separately. Come up with an exercise schedule that can make it easier to work out timings. Stay locally to your home, and take a route where you’re easily able to keep your distance from other people walking, cycling, jogging, or walking their dogs.
Consider playing games in your yard and setting up different activities for dogs in the home, which will tire them out and stimulate them mentally. A tired dog is a happy dog, and there’s plenty you can do to achieve this even in a small space.
Current coronavirus government advice on shopping is that one person per household should go grocery shopping, as infrequently as possible. For most people, this means once a week, so it’s essential to get everything you need during this trip. Don’t panic buy, but do work out what you’re likely to need and make sure you have enough to feed your pet in between trips. Lots of pet shops are also open, and some offer a delivery service, too, so you shouldn’t struggle to feed your animals if you’re careful and plan.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a worrying time for everyone; as a pet owner, it’s natural to be concerned about your animals. Follow the advice above to keep yourself and your pets safe.
If you would like more information, please feel free to visit our Central Orange County Emergency Animal Hospital website. If you have an emergency please give us a call.