As the world reels from the COVID-19 attack, your daily life is likely in upheaval. The stress, anxiety, and worry you feel can also affect your pet, and cause her to become anxious. To help combat your worries, arm yourself with knowledge about COVID-19. For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 and your pet, read on.
#1: Check reputable sources for the most current COVID-19 updates
Accurate, current information is your best weapon for battling this pandemic. Major animal and human health organizations are continuously updating their websites with the latest disease findings, and you should visit the following sites to learn more:
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
- World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
#2: Stock up on your pet’s supplies
In the event of a quarantine, whether self-imposed or government-mandated, don’t forget to stock up on pet supplies—as well as toilet paper. To ensure your furry pal has plenty of necessities to get through a two- to four-week quarantine period, load up on the following supplies:
- Waste bags
- Chronic medications
- Heartworm, flea, and tick preventives
If your pet takes a daily medication, contact us for additional refills to avoid a gap in treatment.
#3: Understand how COVID-19 is transmitted
Social distancing and staying at home except when absolutely necessary are incredibly important for reducing COVID-19 transmission. As a human coronavirus, COVID-19 is spread best through direct person-to-person contact, such as inhaling infective respiratory droplets expelled through coughing. Although less likely, transmission can also occur through contact with a contaminated object, such as a door handle, light switch, pet fur, or leash.
#4: Understand the difference between pet coronaviruses and COVID-19
Dogs, cats, horses, pigs, birds, and many other animals can develop coronaviruses, but none are COVID-19. In dogs, two forms of coronaviruses can cause illness—an enteric form that leads to self-limiting diarrhea, and a respiratory form that has been linked to kennel cough cases. Cats tend to be infected with an enteric form, which also causes mild diarrhea. In rare cases, this feline coronavirus can develop into feline infectious peritonitis, which is almost always fatal.
#5: Listen to major animal and human health organizations about COVID-19’s effect on pets
Many people worry about their pets developing COVID-19, since pets can become ill with coronaviruses. But, coronaviruses are often species-specific, and do not infect other species. As COVID-19 is a human coronavirus, the CDC has declared there is no evidence to indicate that pets can become ill from COVID-19, or serve as an infection source for people. And, while pets can develop their own coronaviruses, you do not have to worry about being affected.
#6: Practice good hygiene when around your pet
While your pet is unlikely to be carrying infective virus particles, still practice good hygiene. The fur, collar, and leash are made of fibrous materials that can trap pathogens deep inside, so always wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching your pet, and avoid coughing, sneezing, kissing, hugging, or snuggling your furry pal.
#7: Create new activities to keep your pet entertained while staying safe indoors
As you practice social distancing, you are likely avoiding the dog park and more populated neighborhoods. To keep your pet entertained indoors, devise new activities to engage her mind. Ditch the food dish, and feed your pet from a puzzle feeder, snuffle mat, or Licki Mat. Brush up on obedience skills, teach new tricks, or create an agility course with household furniture. Your feline friend would enjoy a cardboard-box fortress to practice her hiding skills, and you can hide her daily kibble inside for a fun hunting game.
#8: Have someone else care for your pet if you become ill
Although the CDC states there is no evidence your pet can become ill from COVID-19, they also recommend changing your pet-care practices if you are ill, out of an abundance of caution. They recommend finding someone else to care for your pet if you are ill but, if that is not possible, avoid handling your pet as much as possible, and wash your hands frequently.
#9: Check for our most current policy changes before heading to our hospital
To protect your pet, your family, and our community, we have implemented a few policy changes to reduce the potential for infection transmission. As the COVID-19 situation rapidly changes, our policies may change as well, so call ahead for the most current protocols. Here is what we currently are offering, to help keep everyone safe:
- Curbside drop-off for wellness and sick appointments, where we will examine your pet, perform necessary diagnostics, and contact you when your pet is ready for pickup
- Telemedicine for consultations and diagnosis, if possible
- Curbside prescription pickup
#10: Contact My Best Friend Veterinary Center for your pet’s health needs
If your pet has been in contact with a sick person, and develops any respiratory illness sign, such as coughing, sneezing, or difficulty breathing, contact us immediately. Otherwise, we are still here, diligently striving to provide the best care possible for your beloved pet.
If your pet needs medical care during these troubling times, or you would like more information on how COVID-19 can affect your pet and your family, contact us.