COVID-19 and Caring for Your Pet

THERE is a lot of information circulating about the novel coronavirus as it pertains to public health and how humans have been affected, but some are wondering what, if any, concerns there are in regards to our four legged companions. As of now, there is one case of a Pomeranian in China that tested positive for COVID-19 after contact with his owner who is infected. The pet is not ill but continues to show a “weak positive” upon swab testing. Below are some basics on keeping you and your pet safe and healthy during this evolving pandemic.

Is my pet at risk from COVID-19? Pets that are not in contact with other dogs and do not leave their home environment are at very low risk for infection from outside the home.

Can my pet transmit COVID-19 to me or my other pets? At this time there is no evidence that pets are able to directly transmit the virus back to humans or to other pets. However, the virus can live on objects outside the body from hours to several days depending on surface material and environmental conditions which could possibly cause indirect transmission.

How should I protect my pet from infection? Proper vaccination for respiratory illnesses such as bordetella, parainfluenza and canine influenza is always recommended and can help prevent compounding of illnesses. While there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, properly vaccinating your pet can reduce the chance of contracting these illnesses which will help bolster their immune system.

How can I protect my pet? FREQUENT & PROPER HAND WASHING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING IS THE BEST METHOD TO PREVENT TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19. Washing your hands before and after coming in contact with pets is the best way to prevent transmission of any disease. If you are unable to wash, sanitizing with an alcohol based hand sanitizer with a MINIMUM 60% alcohol concentration is recommended. Sanitizer should be rubbed into all surfaces of the skin for at least 30 seconds. If you are ill, keep yourself away from your pets (social distancing) as much as possible and do not share foods, kiss them or allow them to kiss you. Having another family member care for their feeding and sanitary needs will help prevent you from contaminating your pets or passing the virus to them. If that is not possible, a face mask should be worn and remember, cough into your elbow, not onto your pet! Follow the link below for videos by the CDC on proper hand washing techniques.

Proper Hand Washing Techniques

All information in this post gathered from AVMA, AAHA and CDC websites

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