This article is contributed by guest writer, Jackie B.
COVID-19 and Pets: Everything Pet Owners Need to Know
You’ve likely been hearing a lot about novel coronavirus on the news. The virus is also called COVID-19 or simply “coronavirus.” The world is basically shut down as countries try to protect citizens from the potentially deadly contagion.
While people are worried for themselves, there is another subset they are concerned about: their pets. What should dog and cat owners know about the coronavirus pandemic?
What is COVID-19?
“Coronavirus” is actually the term for the entire family of viruses. The SARS outbreak of 2003 was a type of coronavirus. The ‘19’ in the name ‘COVID-19’ refers to 2019, when the current outbreak first started.
The virus that is currently sweeping the globe is a new strain of coronavirus that’s never been seen in humans before. That means we don’t know how to treat it. The best thing we can do is self-isolate to keep it from spreading further.
As happy as our dogs are to have us home (cats, not so much) we still have to go out occasionally for groceries and other essentials. Such outings can potentially expose us to the virus.
Many pet owners want to know if their pets are at risk of getting COVID-19.
Does it Affect Pets?
The CDC has reported a small number of pets worldwide infected with the virus, mainly after being in contact with a person with COVID-19. Currently, the risk of pets spreading the virus to people is low.
In the event their humans are infected with the virus, guidelines suggest quarantining the pet separately. The biggest risk to your pet is you falling ill and being unable to care for them.
Additionally, if you suspect you may have the novel coronavirus, experts suggest limiting your contact with your dog or cat. That means no cuddling or petting until you’re well again. It’s also a good idea to have a back-up plan in case you get sick and can’t properly care for your pet.
Since many pet daycares are closed, a family member would be the preferable option, though pet sitters may still be taking clients.
How Can I Keep My Pets Safe?
The best way to keep your pet safe from COVID-19 is to keep yourself safe. This means routinely washing your hands, keeping your house tidy and cleaning household items you use often regularly, maintaining a safe distance from other people and following all government mandates. Keeping your pet healthy with the best dog food should always be something you do, pandemic or not.
It can be scary to live in these uncertain times. Your pet can help reduce your stress and anxiety, so do your best to keep them safe.