The team at The Woof Club have received a number of questions about pets and Coronavirus and their welfare from pet owners. We thought it would be an idea to post the most common ones on this blog in case you were searching for these answers.
Can COVID19 Infect My Pet?
This is the one-million-dollar question that most pet owners are asking at the moment and sadly, an increasing number of people are panicking and giving away their dogs and cats under the assumption that they can catch COVID19 from them. Well, according to the World Health Organisation, there is no evidence that house pets can be infected by, or spread COVID-19.
The term ‘Coronavirus’ actually covers a large family of related viruses and some Coronaviruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels and bats. Some coronaviruses, such as canine and feline Coronaviruses, only infect animals and do not infect humans.
Whenever you are around animals, it is essential to follow some basic hygiene practices, such as washing your hands with soap and water on a regular basis and washing your pet’s bowls and utensils regularly too.
What Should I Do With My Pet If Someone In My House Becomes Ill With Coronavirus?
As previously mentioned, there is no evidence of house pets and Coronavirus being linked or pets becoming sick with the COVID19, but vets and doctors strongly advise that you limit contact with your pets if you find that you have been infected yourself.
In fact, treat your pet as you would any other member of your family and socially distance yourself. We don’t know everything about this virus, but socially distancing yourself from your pet when ill will reduce the possibility of the virus being passed onto other humans via their fur etc.
If it is possible for another member of the household to look after your pet, this would be best and you probably won’t feel much like doing it yourself anyway!
Washing bedding, bowls and other pet utensils on a regular basis is crucial and if you must care for your pet yourself then wear a mask and wash your hands well before and after you interact with them.
Certain cantons such as Neuchatel SCAV (Service cantonal de la consommation et des affaires vétérinaires) are also offering to take care of animals in local refuges if their owners have Coronavirus and there is no one else to care for their pet. Check with your Canton for what, if anything, they are offering.
What Do I Do About My Pet’s Vaccinations And Sterilisations?
In Switzerland, the advice is to delay routine treatments, although the vet is open for emergencies. Your pet’s vaccination and routine sterilisation is not a priority at the moment, particularly if you are ill.
For young animals who have not completed their course of injections, make sure you keep kittens indoors and puppies away from areas where dogs might have been.
Adult dogs and cats typically have a three-month grace period after their booster is due and for some diseases, the protection lasts even longer. However, immunity for leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease reduces beyond 15 months and so it is advisable to keep your dog away from stagnant water or places where rats may have been until you can get them to the vet for the booster.
If you delay your pet’s sterilisation then take precautions since a female cat can become pregnant at only four months old!
Can I Still Walk My Dog?
If you are not in quarantine or showing signs of the Coronavirus, then you are allowed to take your dog outside. The exact details of restrictions on walking your dog may vary from canton to canton and it is important that you know what they are.
In general, a maximum of two people from the same family or household should walk their dog in the open air, keeping a minimum of 2m distance from other walkers.
In some cantons, people over 65 must always keep their dog on a lead and walk only alone in the fresh air.
If you are in quarantine and have no solution to care for your dog, you can only take the dog out to potty on a lead, avoiding human contact and then must return immediately into your house.
Can I Stroke Other People’s Pets Or Walk Someone Else’s Dog?
There is no evidence that pets can spread the virus but at this time it is advisable to not interact with other people’s pets. If you must do so, then you should wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and keep your distance from the owner.
How Can The Woof Club Help You?
The team at The Woof Club hopes that this blog post has answered your concerns about pets and Coronavirus, but if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us by submitting a form online or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.