Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for Animal Owners

During these critical times which is floating like dark clouds around the whole world and affecting everyone and everything as the epidemic known to us as ‘’COVID-19’’. At this moment every single one of us is extremely worried, panicked, and stressed but not just for ourselves also for our family members, friends, neighbors, and amongst them, there is also a very big part and inseparable family member, companion or pet. Name them in whatever name you want.

For who’s health and safety we’re anxious about, but Why? How? What is it?  A lot of queries are running around inside our minds. Among them, the most highlighting questions are, ‘’Will this pandemic affect our precious pets too?’’. Well in this article we’ll discuss and cover all this and more. 

COVID-19 and animals 

There is a very little amount of evidence say that our pets have any contribution in spreading COVID-19 to us humans or any other animals however as it a new newly discovered disease, with a lot of unanswered questions scientists around are researching on it 24/7 to acquire more knowledge about it to answer them.

First of all, we all know a thing or two about Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) which is caused by SARS-CoV-2. Well, it is said that its origin is from bats, for which our concern rises whether other animals will be affected because of it or not? Coronaviruses are a vast household of viruses thus every type is different from another, some cause diseases to humans, some to farm animals, and others may cause to wild or sea animals.

So further studies show that some Coronaviruses that are in animals can be transmitted to humans such as SARS and MERS viruses, which is similar to the issue we have now with COVID-19. Although right at the moment the evidence shows that it is being transmitted from a person to another. Thus saying the danger of animals spreading COVID-19 to humans is very little, whether it is our pets or livestock animals.  WORLD ORGANIZATION FOR ANIMAL HEALTH stated earlier this year that ‘’There is no evidence that dogs or cats are playing role in the spread of this human disease’’.  But is it same when its vice versa? 

According to CDC, there have been reports of some house pets including cats and dogs being infected, as they were in close contact with COVID-19 patients. One of the incidents that are still being investigated for further information is that of a 4-year-old tiger called ‘ Nadia’  at a zoo in New York City reported to be infected by one of personal taking care of it was already sick with COVID-19. Thus we can conclude that humans who have COVID-19 can transmit this disease to animals, still, there is a lot more research needed to be conducted to have a clearer picture of the situation. 

Due to this on the other side, the concern for livestock and farm animals is rising, as farm owners or any other person dealing with animals may already carrying the virus without showing any signs of illness can be very alarming for everyone including consumers. As the farms are located in faraway locations, thus the farm owners can be isolated from the world becoming vulnerable. So Help from family, friends, and neighbors are needed including with the government welfare services especially if there are elderly. 

Both conditions either pet or farm owners need to gather some knowledge about how to deal with the situation at hand with the help of government guidelines, animal welfare, and social services, as there is a lot of unreliable news and rumors spreading, creating panic among all.

Hygiene and Social Distancing

Though hygiene is a basic daily routine, during this pandemic we need to be extra careful while handling everything whether it is our pets, farm animals, or animal products (like meat and dairy products). Some generalized hygiene measures should be followed thoroughly.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after interacting with pets, farm animals, or handling animal products is very necessary. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with by our hands, use onetime use tissues and dispose them immediately.
  • Dairy products and raw meat should handled sensitively with following the guidelines of  World Health organization, WHO.  And cooking raw meat thoroughly will be safer for us to consume.
  • Just as we’re paying attention to cleanliness of our house and everything inside it, we need to do the same with our pet’s usage things like bedding materials/mats, food and water bowls, or any other utensils that are used for them, their collars/harnesses, leash rabbis tags, and identification tags must be cleaned thoroughly and regularly.
  • Give baths to your pet regularly, whether it goes out for a walk or not. Plus groom them from time to time this will also teach them a new habit of being cleaned. But do make sure that you’re paying attention to their mood while doing so so that they don’t irritate by it instead.
  • Make sure your food, utensils, or any other things you or any, other members of your family use like your clothes, sofa, towel or bed is not shared or comes in contact with pet’s, and if anything does make sure to wash them thoroughly and then wash your hands with soap and water.
  • When you’re taking your pet for a walk carry old newspapers, water bottles with detergent so you can clean after your pet urinates or its feces.

In case of social distancing, we need to pay the same amount of attention to our pets as we do with ourselves.

  • First, of whether we’re infected with COVID-19 or not we must refrain ourselves and other family members especially the kids to interact with our pets excessively like hugging/cuddling, kissing, and licking. And do wash our hands after every interaction.
  • We mustn’t allow our pets to come in contact with other people outside our household members like neighbors or their pets, even the person who takes them for walk must have limited contact with them also.
  • Among all pets dogs needed to be taken out either for their regular walk or toilet, in this case, we need to prepare well whether we or any friend or any professional walker does the job. We must follow the social distancing regulations of 2 to 4 meters from other people and their pets or any other animal outside.
  • In case you’re not the person taking the pet out and asked a friend or walker to do that, you mustn’t get in contact with that person and absolutely do not invite them inside, you should use gloves and mask while handing your pet to them and when you’re taking them back. Wash your hands than your pet.
  • We must make sure the leash out pet is no longer than six feet to avoid contact with others we can keep our pet at the lead to minimize it.
  • We need to pay attention to our pets if its touching or licking anything outside to avoid the possibility of being infected.
  • For professional walkers they must pay attention to certain things to avoid unnecessary trouble, like rescheduling to keep some dogs interacting with others, if possible take fewer dogs at a time. While you’re out to make sure you follow the social distancing regulations, and wear gloves and makes hand wash your hands after handling each pet to their owners.

COVID-19 and My Pet

In this article, we will cover the things like, do’s and don’ts during quarantine/if you’re a COVID-19 patient, your pet and its veterinarian, how to use the time of quarantine to deepen the bond between you and your pets, teach them new habits or train them.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • As we read earlier we know that there hasn’t been any record that companion animals transmitted the virus to humans instead the vice versa happens. As there’s have been records of humans with COVID-19 infecting their companion animals with the virus thus if you or any other person whether family or friends mustn’t keep their pet with them until they are recovered fully.
  • We can ask someone we and our pet familiar with take care of it if it is not possible we may call local authorities or animal care shelters in our city or provenance for help.
  • You must ask the person taking care of it, to observe its health conditions with advice from your veterinarian , in case it is already been infected.  
  • Your pet must always wear a collar or leash with proper identification which must include its name, your name, number addresses, emergency contact, and the veterinarian name, address, and contact information. And its microchip should be updated with GPS installed in it, in case of any emergency.
  • If you observe any signs of sickness on your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately and ask for further instructions.
  • As its quarantine, you can keep stock of 2 to 4 weeks of food medicines and other essential necessities, this way we can abode by the social distancing and isolation law.

Pets and Veterinarians

  • As a pet owner you probably already have a regular veterinarian for your pet
  • First of all the things, we should do is unless and until its emergency, we should not go to the veterinarian, this way we are helping them from being infected and keeping them away from risks and continue giving the services for all the animals.
  • You need to contact your respective veterinarian and collect information about their plans and working system during quarantine, and in case of any emergency what you should and shouldn’t do.
  • Keep records of your pet’s health care history, medication, and in case if it was treated somewhere else, etc in detail and keep both hard and soft copy of them for emergencies.
  • Prepare a bag with your pet’s essentials including their identification details and some toys, in case they’re needed to be shifted or taken to the veterinarian and keep them somewhere easy to reach.
  • If your pet’s has history of any sickness or it is on medication, contact with your veterinarian and take notes off the things you should do and care for.
  • Check if your pets already have taken its vaccinations if not please make sure they are given. If your pet is on medication keep stock of 3 to 5 weeks of supply and make sure they’re documented thoroughly and you have knowledge of its dosage in intake methods.
  • In case of any emergency that you need to take them to the veterinarians, First of all, call your veterinarian’s center and explain the symptoms that your pet is showing and they will tell you if they’re needed to be taken there.
  • And if it is unavoidable then please inform them beforehand so they can prepare necessary safety measurements, and please make sure you’re also keeping in mind of the regulations should be followed.

How To Use The Time Of Quarantine To Deepen The Bond Between You And Your Pet

As the lockdown continues and the risk of spreading the virus is still roaming on top of our heads. We all are stressing and panicking about it so much, we know that our emotions affect our pets heavily on top of that the situation also affecting them both mentally and physically. We should make use this time to deal with all of these smartly.

  • For their inner physical strength, we can change their diets with the help of the veterinarian suggestions, as they are not able to physically active before the quarantine. It affects their health mentally and physically, so it will be pretty much helpful for your pet.
  •  Play more often with your pets to strengthen the bond between you and your pet, but keep in mind to do not to interact with them too much physically. Play smart games that will develop their senses and those which can enhance their brains’ capacity.
  • Develop and research new ways to train and educate them to adopt new habits and be obedient.

We all know that we can affect our pet’s ability, so do they, and they can help us overcome the stress and decrease our anxiety, blood pressure, and sugar levels. But also we should be calm and composed and exhibit confident behavior around so we don’t affect them negatively.

Lastly, we should follow and keep up with all the news about this matter, but beware of fake and unreliable news.

Remember to wash your hands with soap and water from time to tome and do not panic.

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