This blog will be continually updated as new information comes out during this rapidly evolving situation.
It is recommended that all pet owners have an emergency kit for their pets that includes 2 weeks' worth of their food and medication. Luckily, pet manufacturers, retailers, and vets have been deemed an essential service and will continue providing products & services during the current situation. However, the infection may affect supply chains if it continues to spread and keeping an ample amount of food, medication, and other essentials on hand is suggested.
Currently there is no evidence that COVID can be passed directly from pets to humans or vice versa. Thousands of cats and dogs being tested for the virus in North America and all have turned out negative. However, it is a best practice to wash your hands before and after touching your pet as it can survive on their fur.
Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet.
If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
Walking your dog is important to do if you are healthy and located in an area where it is allowed. Even light exercise is great for keeping immunity up and has many other physical benefits. Also, staying indoors for a prolonged period can take a toll on your mental health and a walk can provide some relief.
While it is not fully known if COVID can be tracked into your house from dogs’ paws, it is a best practice wipe down paws with a soapy rag entering after a walk.
Pets are creatures of habit and working from home can greatly disrupt their routine. Some pets, cats especially, need their own space which can be difficult when their humans are home much more due to social distancing measures.
Setting up a separate area for them can reduce the impact of the change. Simply gathering boxes together, putting in some of their possessions in it, and letting them roam free without interference, can make them more comfortable.
Booster vaccines and other non essential vet visits should be delayed in order to practice appropriate social distancing. Routine surgery is also important to put off as vet's are down to a skeleton staff and they should be focused on emergency and absolutely necessary surgeries.
Dog parks, training schools and pet-events pose a risk to people due to them all coming together and not practicing social distancing. These places should be avoided if possible.
If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
This information has been provided by:
The American Veterinary Association - https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19
The Animal Medical Centre COVID- 19 Webinar - https://www.facebook.com/theanimalmedicalcenter