Studies and even human experiences have proven time and again that having a pet helps maintain good physical and mental health. Pets provide happiness to people, which in turn helps lower their blood pressure and reduce their stress and anxiety levels. In the face of this global crisis, having a pet in your home is very comforting indeed. However, people are increasingly getting worried that they might catch the infection and infect others or if they can transmit the virus to them. They are anxious about how to take care of them because times have changed over the past months.
Here are some frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers on taking care of your pets in the face of COVID-19.
How should I take care of my pets and interact with them during this outbreak?
The safest and most convenient way to take care of your pet is by observing hygiene both for you and your pet. Constantly wash your hands the proper way and make sure you shower and change clothes if you have gone out to buy food and other items. This way, you prevent acquiring the infection, and you avoid transmitting it to your family or to the people you’re staying within your home. If your pets are close by and you happen to cough or sneeze, it is possible that the droplets from your sneeze get to their collar or on areas of their body and then to other people who interact with them.
Are pets vulnerable to getting coronavirus, and do they have vaccines to treat them?
COVID-19 is a new virus that was discovered three or four months ago. It is a component of the coronavirus family that manifests with the simple cold to more complicated coronaviruses that may cause SARS and MERS. In light of this, canine coronavirus vaccines sold in the markets are made to protect animals from intestinal infections. They are not actually licensed and have not proven to fight against respiratory infections. This was confirmed by the Department of Clinical Sciences at Colorado State University.
However, because animals can transmit other coronaviruses to other animals as well as to humans, these vaccines are beneficial to treat these specific diseases, although there has never been enough proof to confirm that vaccinating dogs and other pets with these vaccines will offer cross-protection against COVID-19.
Should I not get close to my pet if I don’t feel well or if I have a fever?
Even though it has not been confirmed whether or not animals can capably transmit the new coronavirus, much has yet to be studied and understood about COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people who don’t feel well or have a fever should not handle their pets and get close to them. It is always good to err on the side of caution just so your pet or pets are safe from being infected or becoming sick.
What if I get sick? What do I do to take care of my pet’s well-being?
- Buy more food than usual for your pet, perhaps an extra bag of dog food or cat food so that there are enough supplies for them in case you need to have yourself quarantined at home or in the hospital.
- Find a designated person to hold responsible in case of an emergency. It may be a family member, a close friend, or a neighbor you can trust.
- Remember to practice good hygiene at all times. Make sure that your pet is groomed regularly. Clean their food bowls, bed materials, and toys.
What if my pet gets sick?
So much has yet to be studied about COVID-19, which is why pet owners must contact their veterinarian if this happens. Before bringing your pet to the clinic, call the vet first, as maybe he has protocols and questions before he receives your pet, like if it has been in contact with someone infected with the virus recently, among others. This is the clinic or facility’s way of keeping their employees safe and protected.