While some states have started loosening stay-at-home restrictions, some health experts are saying that Americans are underestimating how long the COVID–19 outbreak will last. During this time, you may have taken necessary precautions to protect your family; but, if you have cats or dogs in the home, you may be wondering how this unpredictable time affects them.
Read on to see how you can address your concerns about your pets during this time.
Does the Virus Affect Pets, and Can They Pass It to Humans?
COVID–19 is mainly passed from respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. So if your dog or cat is showing these types of symptoms, you may be concerned that they are infected or that they will infect family members.
There are actually many types of coronavirus strains that affect cats and dogs. However, the good news is that COVID–19 is not specifically believed to be a threat to their health. Furthermore, the CDC says that based upon available data, the risk of pets spreading the disease to people is also low.
Are There Any Good Habits You Should Practice During This Time?
Even if the risk factors are low, it’s a good idea to maintain distancing and disinfectant practices if you or they are exhibiting symptoms. You can stay safe by not sharing table scraps, by avoiding kisses, and by washing your hands after you pet or play with your animal. Be sure to regularly wash your pets’ bedding and disinfect their chew toys.
Also, it may be tempting to hoard food, litter, medication, and other pet supplies, but this can contribute to the shortages that some companies are experiencing. Talk with your vet about what items your pets absolutely need at this time.
As long as your pet’s health is stable, then your vet may be flexible in extending refill authorizations. If you are struggling to find what you need at a local grocery store, consider checking out e-commerce sites for delivery or curbside pickup.
Do Your Pets Need to Stay Inside at All Times?
It’s understandable that a lot of people are getting cabin fever during this time of social distancing, so if you can get your cat or dog out in the yard to play, that can do wonders for both your mental health and their physical health.
If you have a high-energy pet that needs walks, you can still take them out. Just be sure to wear a mask and maintain your distance from other people and animals. Avoid dog parks, and, if you do need to leave a pet for an extended period of time, try and have a friend or family member step in for care so that your dog doesn’t have to be exposed to lots of other animals at a kennel.
Can Your Veterinarian See Your Pets During This Time?
Veterinarian offices are open, but their services are temporarily limited in many offices. For example, some offices are offering virtual appointments through video and telephone calls for wellness checks and non-emergency cases. Where non-essential in-office visits are postponed, vets will still see emergency cases in person and help puppies finish their immunization series.
If your pet warrants a physical visit to the office, your veterinarian may have you wait in the parking lot until an employee can take your pet inside in his or her crate. When your dog or cat has been checked out, the employee will bring your pet back outside to you. If the veterinary visit is expected to take an extended amount of time the staff may ask you to drop off your pet and come back once finished.
The idea of these car-side and drop off services is to keep waiting rooms empty so that people and animals don’t have to congregate together and risk spreading the virus — especially since many people with COVID–19 are asymptomatic.
Reach out to us at 1st Pet Veterinary Centers to learn more about how you can take care of your dogs and cats during this time and to learn more about our services.