After several long and stressful months, many pet owners are struggling with returning to a “normal” life. With unanswered questions about pets carrying the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and Fourth of July celebrations right around the corner, it’s overwhelming to navigate moving forward.
While we cannot predict the future, we hope that talking about what we know will help ease your concerns about COVID-19 and your furry family members.
Can My Pet Contract COVID-19 and Spread It?
The CDC states that the risk of pets contracting and spreading SARS-CoV-2 is very low. A handful of cats and dogs in the U.S. were diagnosed with COVID-19 and were traced to infected owners. There have been no reported cases of pets spreading the virus.
From the FDA, “[T]here is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people from the skin, fur or hair of pets.” They go on to explain that animals can carry germs, and you should always wash your hands before and after interacting with a pet.
As we continue to learn about COVID-19, the information may change. Still, it appears that your pet poses little to no risk of contracting and spreading the virus. Frequent hand washing remains the best way to avoid an infection.
What Can Pet Parents Do Moving Forward?
As social distancing guidelines change, you can prepare to keep yourself, your family, and your pet safe and healthy.
Bring Your Pet in for a Checkup and Vaccinations
We continue to take precautions to protect everyone that enters our clinic, and your pet’s health and wellbeing haven’t taken a vacation just because of COVID-19. If your pet is due for their annual exam or vaccinations, now is the time to make an appointment. As social distancing guidelines change, you will appreciate knowing that your pet’s health and wellbeing is taken care of.
Continue to Steer Clear of Crowds
Even though recreation areas, dog parks, and businesses are re-opening, you will still want to avoid large crowds. You’ve probably experienced strangers petting your dog without permission, which can expose you and your pet to germs and viruses if they get too close.
According to CDC guidelines, continue to keep your distance from other people and limit contact between strangers and your pets. Fortunately, most leashes are 4’-6’ long, so use that as a handy visual tool.
Provide Your Pet with Plenty of Indoor and At-Home Play Opportunities
The CDC recommends keeping your cat indoors, so if they’re used to going outside, they may be a bit restless. Dogs that frequent parks will likely feel more bored than usual without the socialization and exercise.
To give them relief, provide them with new toys, playtime in the backyard, and mental stimulation. Puzzle toys and feeders are an excellent choice for cats and dogs or try scent games to liven up the afternoon. If your dog’s “sit” is a little rusty, try 10-15 minutes of training a day to keep their skills and their brain sharp.
Run out of ideas? Try YouTube for training and DIY toys.
Plan for Prescription and Pet Supply Delivery
Even with face masks, shopping leaves many feeling nervous and vulnerable. Signing up for automatic delivery of your pet’s prescriptions and supplies can take some of the worries away. The last thing you need is to get caught off-guard if restrictions are tightened again, or supplies run out.
Stay Positive and Active
Whether you’re still working from home or back at the office, plan for a little extra time to spend with your pet. Quality time and bonding have a positive effect on the mental health of humans and animals. You can and should still walk your dog. For your cat, open the windows when the weather is beautiful and join them in bird watching.
Things Are Looking Up-Let’s Keep It That Way
As the clouds part, it’s essential to keep our eyes on the future and continue to do what we can to stay safe and healthy. Per the CDC, social distancing applies to the whole family, including your pets.
As ever, we are committed to your family’s health and safety. Don’t hesitate to call or make an appointment if your pet needs an exam, you have questions about their health, or if they need medical attention. We are here for you and your pet.
Image credit: Pexels.