Here’s the good news: there is no evidence to suggest that pets might be a source of coronavirus – or COVID-19, and according to the CDC, there have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with the virus anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, pet parents can take precautions to ensure that their furry babies stay healthy and out of the fray of this global pandemic.
Here are the top 5 things you need to know:
- LIMIT CONTACT WITH OTHERS’ PETS
Although pets do not appear to be at risk of becoming sick with COVID-19, they can still unwittingly become a part of the transmission chain through hand-to-fur contact. It’s currently unknown whether a dog’s fur or skin can be contaminated by the virus if, for example, an infected human sneezed on it. But a study demonstrated that under laboratory conditions, the virus can live for up to three days on plastic and steel, and one day on cardboard. This suggests that it could plausibly survive on pet fur or animal skin. Out of an abundance of caution, limit physical contact with other people’s pets, as owners might be asymptomatic.
- SOCIAL DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM PETS AS WELL AS PEOPLE
As there remains much to learn about this disease, experts recommend that people who are infected with coronavirus, or who believe they might be, should stay away from pets just as they would from people. If you live with pets or if you are in close contact with animals in your home at the time of your diagnosis, keep them in quarantine with you.
- WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE AND AFTER PETTING OR TOUCHING A PET
Other diseases are known to spread between people and animals, therefore it’s a good idea to make a habit of hand-washing regardless of the circumstances.
- PROTECT YOUR PETS WITH ADVANCE PLANNING
It’s important to include pets in your family or household preparedness planning. Be sure to stock up on extra pet food (it won’t go to waste; even if they don’t need it now, they certainly will eat it eventually). If you’re quarantined, let friends or neighbors know about your pet’s food and medication needs so they can do the necessary shopping for you.
- CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN
There’s no substitute for the expertise of your pet’s vet. The best way to keep your fur babies healthy is by following the guidance provided by a trained professional who is familiar with your pet’s health and medical history. As more and more businesses are closing their doors for social-distancing purposes, ask your vet if your can reach out via email or a personal cell phone – just in the case of an emergency.