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Can Pets Catch Coronavirus? Useful Do’s and Don’ts For All Pet Owners

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As we all adjust to life during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many pet owners are left wondering how to care for their dogs and cats. But, Can Pets Catch Coronavirus? The good news is that our furry pals are not at risk for contracting coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.

However, there are still things that our pets need during lockdowns such as access to vet clinics, supplies (e.g. food, treats, medication) and the outside world. We also need to balance maintaining our own social distancing with our dog’s desire to greet strangers and other pups. Based on research from expert sources, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts for pet owners in these uncertain times.

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Can Pets Catch Coronavirus?

Right now, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that your pet or any other animal can be infected with the coronavirus (Covid-19). However, we advise that you continue to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets or animals.

Do: Use telehealth options for contacting your vet

Although veterinarian offices are listed as an essential workplace and still open, you might find that your vet has reduced hours or services. For their safety, and your own, opt for telehealth whenever possible. This way, you can ask questions and get advice or prescriptions without breaking your social distancing. You should also check to see if pick-up of medications or supplies can be contactless.

Do: Take your dog for a walk outside

As long as you stay 6-feet away from other people, walking your dog outside should be a low risk activity. Coronavirus is not airborne, it’s spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If those droplets get inhaled, or if you touch something with the droplets and then touch your face, you can catch the virus. Make sure to wash your hands and keep your hands firmly on the leash — no eye-rubbing!

Do: Prepare for being sick

We don’t want to think about contracting coronavirus, but it’s better safe than sorry. Stock up on 30-days worth of pet food, medication, treats and anything else your pet regularly uses. You might also want to get pee pads or an indoor grass potty option, just in case you don’t have a back-up friend or family member who can walk your dog.

Do: Keep your dog mentally engaged during self-isolation

You have Netflix and board games — your pets need something too! Invest in some puzzle toys (or smart interactive training pet apps like “Dogo App“) that can keep your dog engaged and busy.

It’s a win-win because the mental activity will also tire them out and soon they’ll be crawling into their bed for a big snooze. For cats, some cat nip and a lazer pointer will do wonders. 

Don’t: Put animal workers at unnecessary risk

The fewer people you’re close to, the better. This keeps you and others safe. Therefore, if you have pet groomers, dog walkers or other animal workers that regularly work for you, consider putting their services on hold. This is especially important if you or the worker is showing symptoms, then it should be no contact for 14 days. If you really need the services, opt for contactless handovers of your pet. And remember, this person has helped you out many times so it’s a good gesture to still pay them anything you can during this period of mass unemployment.

Don’t: Pet other dogs

“We’re not touching other individuals, so why would we have other individuals put their hands all over your dog? It doesn’t really jive,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an associate professor at the University of Toronto School of Medicine, told Maclean’s. If a dog runs up to you, don’t panic. You’re less likely to catch the virus from porous materials, such as pet fur, which tend to absorb and trap pathogens, making it harder to absorb them through touch. 

Don’t: Put a face mask on your pet

They might look kind of cute, but it won’t protect your pet (who can’t get coronavirus anyway) and you run the risk of injuring them or unnecessarily restricting their breathing.

So Can Pets Catch Coronavirus? The current research suggests that they can’t but as with any pandemic things can change so we have to ensure that we are up to date with the most reliable information for better protection.

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Jessica Bee is a writer for Pawzy, a site that connects modern pet parents to the best advice and services.

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