Since there are still many unknowns about coronavirus, pet owners might be understandably concerned, especially after several high-profile stories revealed that zoo animals have contracted the virus.
However, the CDC has said to there is currently “no evidence” that pets can transmit coronavirus to people, or that infected humans could infect their household pets. But since new information is coming out every day and new findings could show that pets are also susceptible to the virus, there are steps you can take to ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy during these difficult times.
1. Practice social distancing when out on walks
Just as humans need to practice social distancing when going out, so do your pets. For dogs, that means keeping them on short leashes while on walks and staying away from crowded parks or dog parks.
The same is true if you walk your cat on a lead, as well. If your cat is allowed to roam free outside your home, the CDC recommends keeping them inside for the time being so they can’t potentially come into contact with infected people.
2. Practice good hygiene with your pets
Right now, most states are still enforcing stay-at-home orders but allow residents to go outside for essential errands like the grocery store or getting exercise. For apartment residents who own pets but don’t have access to a backyard or apartment green area, this means going for several daily walks to allow your pet to exercise and relieve themselves.
While this is a necessity, you and your pet are outside and at the most risk. While we’re all trying to maintain six feet of distance from others at all times, there’s still a possibility that, just as the droplets that spread the virus can catch on clothes and surfaces, they could also be caught on your pet’s fur, the main concern of pet owners who take their animals outside on a regular basis.
3. Keep them away from infected humans
Since it’s believed that the novel coronavirus jumped from animals to humans, there may be some concern about the possibility of your pet contracting coronavirus and passing it along to you. However, the CDC has stated that “we do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States.”
But, as they also admit that this is a rapidly-changing situation and research and testing is still on-going, they do recommend that you “Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.”
4. Clean food and water dishes, as well as toys and blankets
Right now, we’re all taking extra precautions to make sure that our homes and the things in them are properly cleaned with the use of soap and warm water, followed by a disinfectant. This should go for your pet’s items, as well.
The AVMA recommends washing their food and water dishes on a regular basis, and if they play with toys or use blankets/bedding materials, keep those clean by washing them on your washing machine’s “warmest possible setting,” according to the CDC.
5. Keep your apartment clean
Even though the risk of human-to-pet or pet-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus is little-to-none, it’s still important for your health and that of your pet that you keep yourself and your home clean and disinfected.
Dust and vacuum regularly, and disinfect high-traffic contact places like doorknobs, counters and tables. Wear a pair of disposable gloves while doing this and be careful not to cross-contaminate by not removing the gloves before doing other things. Regular cleaning and disinfecting will lower the chances of you or your pet getting the virus.
Stay safe and happy with your pets during coronavirus
By being cautious, following CDC guidelines and taking the proper steps to socially distance yourself and your pet, as well as to keep them, yourself and your home clean, you and your furry friends should come out the other side of this pandemic happy and healthy.