Taking care of companion animals during the pandemic: practical advice.25 Mar, 2020
First and foremost: There is NO EVIDENCE that companion animals transmit Covid-19, also known as Coronavirus.
Please, do not abandon your cats and dogs and do not surrender them to the already swamped shelters. Instead, if you can, donate to your local shelters and rescue groups, their burden at the moment is huge and resources more limited than ever.
You are lucky to have a companion animal in your life and they are lucky to have you! It will be easier to go through this together. However, there are important rules and precautions to follow in order to keep every member of your family as healthy and at ease as possible while the pandemic is taking its toll on our lives.
Play times are extremely important for mental stimulation of your cat or dog, and you should make sure they receive plenty of that even when you cannot follow your usual routine. When staying at home with your dog or your cat, make sure you have plenty of toys to keep them busy. You could also try fighting the boredom by watching training videos and teaching your dog new tricks and commands.
With so many countries being on lockdown, you should make sure you have all the essentials at hand both for yourself and your four-legged friend. Here is the list of things you need to always have, especially so under the current circumstances:
- Pet emergency kit
- Litter boxes with litter for cats
- Extra leashes and collars
- Vaccination and medical records
- Photos and descriptions of each pet
- Tag/ID with your contact information, microchip
- Pet first-aid book and pet first-aid kit
If your pet falls ill, do not take them to the vet but call your local practice for advice.
There is no evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted between animals or that they could be infected by it. But pets who live in the household with infected people, could have the virus on their fur (through cough or petting). We therefore strongly advise you to limit your contact with your pet if you feel unwell and to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
It is strongly advisable to keep your cats indoor and walk your dogs only on the leash in uncrowded areas to minimise any contact. Be sure to always wash your hands before and after interacting with your pet and throughout the day.
Always have an emergency plan in case you need to be taken to a hospital. It is your responsibility to arrange for someone to take care of your pet while you cannot do it.
If your immediate family or trusted friends cannot help, you could look for volunteers in your area by posting a message on local websites and Facebook groups. Sometimes, local shelters provide these services, especially if you don’t have a pet sitter available in your area. Make sure to research these options in advance and have a dedicated person ready.
Nobody wants to plan for it, but in these uncertain times we owe it to our furry family members to take care of them in case a serious illness or even death takes their beloved human away. Many charities offer free plans for you to register for during your lifetime in order to make them eligible to take care of your pet in case your untimely death.
We fully appreciate the stress everyone is under right now, but we should all try to remain calm for the sake of ourselves and our loved ones. Stay at home, frequently wash your hands and enjoy this time with your pets and your family.
May you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy!