What Do We Know About COVID-19 and Pets?
Posted by Justin Osborne on Jun 8th 2020
We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and infected millions of people from all over the globe, but what about animals? How does it affect our pets?
In the ocean of irrelevant and shady information, pet owners find it hard to distinguish between fake and trustworthy news. We analyzed a number of reports and recommendations coming from local and international authorities in order to answer a simple question: What do we know about coronavirus and pets?
It’s not a simple topic, but we filtered out a few basic conclusions that you should try to follow in the coming weeks and months. Let’s check them out!
The Basics of COVID-19
COVID-19 is an infectious disease that you can get through direct contact with infected persons or infectious material.
The primary source of COVID-19 remains unknown and it’s highly recommended to be extra cautious these days. Although epidemiologists don’t believe animals can become a major source of infection among humans, you should still do all it takes to protect your pet and yourself from the coronavirus threat.
To date, we’ve witnessed only a few cases of pets getting the new virus, while the World Health Organization announced there was no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet could transmit COVID-19. However, scientists are still researching coronavirus and it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.
How to Treat Your Pet in the Age of COVID-19?
There’s obviously not enough data about the correlation between animals and COVID-19, but we have to work with what we got so far.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent a very simple to pet owners and warned them to be extremely cautious for the time being. Namely, the relationship between COVID-19 and pets is still not clear and so it’s not recommended to spend too much time with and around your dog, cat, or any other animal.
Of course, pets require a slightly different approach and you will have to follow a few basic recommendations such as:
- A dog must be kept on a leash when going outside. Keep a six-foot distance from other people and pets.
- Not allowing your pet to get in touch with anyone when taking it for a walk.
- If you have a cat, try to keep it indoors to prevent possible interactions with other animals.
- Avoid crowded places where you know a lot of other people will take their pets.
- If you notice any signs of the disease, give your veterinarian a phone call to arrange further treatment details.
That is just a brief list of general tips, but what happens if you or a member of your family is sick? Jake Gardner, an essay writer who specializes in health-related topics, says you should do all it takes to minimize the risk if you have COVID-19: “The idea is clear – pretend your pet is one of your family members and treat it as such.”
This approach has a few practical consequences. First of all, you should give your pet to someone else to take care of it while you are sick. If this is not possible, then you should reduce physical contact with your pet and avoid activities like petting, kissing, cuddling, and snuggling.
But there is another disease prevention mechanism to use here. Namely, you should wear a mask and gloves when doing things with or around your pet. Needless to say, you should always wash your hands before and after that.
How to Protect Yourself around Animals?
Another important detail is to learn how to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 if there are any pets nearby. Although it’s still not clear whether people can really get the virus from animals, there is no need to take any risks. A few simple steps will help you to stay healthy even if your pet is infected:
- Rule number one is to reduce contact to the bare minimum.
- After touching your pet or any of its things, you have to wash your hands thoroughly.
- Beware of pet hygiene and do your best to clean up everything properly.
- Pay attention to your pet and try to identify the signs of COVID-19 as early as possible.
- Keep in touch with the local veterinarian and get all the information you need to feel safe and secure.
The Bottom Line
As we are still in the early stages of understanding COVID-19, it’s hard to make any decisive conclusions about the influence of coronavirus on animals. However, you should definitely follow official instructions and try to keep both your pet and the people around you protected by keeping a safe distance. Until we find out more about the disease, this is the only reasonable way to approach the situation and take care of your lovely pet.
Justin is a teacher from Leicester, England,UK. When not teaching his little students and rooting for Leicester FC, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums.