Coronavirus (Covid-19) and our pets
Coronavirus (Covid-19) and our pets
The coronavirus situation is changing rapidly. The Public Health England website has general information on what it means to ‘self-isolate’ and how to do it if it becomes necessary. However, what will it mean for those of us with pets we need to look after? Here we have gathered together some of the latest guidelines published by animal charities.
As you know, the advice for humans is changing daily and this may well be the case for our pets. Therefore we have provided a link for each organisation so you can keep updated.
How to care for your pets if you're ill or have to self-isolate due to Coronavirus - Advice from the RSPCA
As fears about Coronavirus - or Covid-19 - sweep the globe, health authorities are issuing lots of advice to people. But what about our pets?
While there is no evidence to suggest that pets can be carriers of Coronavirus or can become ill from it themselves, your pets may be impacted if you or any members of your family test positive for the virus or are asked to stay at home and self-isolate.
We're urging pet owners not to panic and not to abandon their pets. There are lots of easy ways to take care of your pets' needs even if you can't leave the house.
Tips for keeping your pets and family safe
If you haven't tested positive or been asked to self-isolate then continue to interact with your pets as normal but adopt good hygiene practices including washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching them, their food, toys and bedding. This is good advice at any time and not specific to the Coronavirus situation.
1. Avoid being kissed or licked and sharing food with your pet.
2. Ensure you have supplies of pet food and medication in case of self-isolation.
3. Speak to your vet or doctor for more advice.
How to meet your pet's needs if you are not showing signs of Covid-19 but are self isolating
The good news is that there are lots of ways to ensure your pet is well cared for even if you're stuck at home, so don't panic.
If possible, arrange for another person to care for your pet (you could consider using a dog walker or home boarder). If you own a horse or livestock and keep them on land that is not based at your address, arrange for a friend to care for them until you're able to return to normal.
Always adopt good hygiene practises and thoroughly wash your hands after interacting with your pets, such as rabbits, rodents, birds and reptiles.
Although you won't be able to take your dog beyond your house or garden for exercise - there are lots of ways to keep your dog happy and healthy within the confines of your own home.
Cats still need access outdoors or to a clean litter tray and outdoor cats can go in and out as normal.
If you have any concerns about your pet or your pet shows signs of ill health, please do not visit the vet but phone for advice. As you will be unable to take your pet to the vet yourself, have a plan so that someone else can do this on your behalf.
Click HERE for the RSPCA website
Vet Q&A: Coronavirus (Covid-19) advice for self-isolating pet owners - Advice from the PDSA
“There is currently no evidence that pets can become sick from the new Coronavirus (COVID-19), so it’s highly unlikely they are at risk. There is also no evidence that companion animals can spread Covid-19 to people either, although maintaining good hygiene practices is always sensible, such as washing your hands with hot water and soap before and after handling and feeding.
The situation is changing rapidly though, and more is being discovered about this new virus as time goes on. Until more is known, it’s sensible to take precautionary measures to protect our pets.
If you are self-isolating (either due to having some symptoms, or because you have been advised to do so after being in contact with a confirmed case), here’s our vets’ advice:
(Please note, this advice does not apply to those who might be advised to follow social distancing.)”
Can my pet stay with me? Does my pet need to stay with someone else?
There is no need for your pet to stay somewhere else during this time. However, when self-isolating on medical advice, you will need to make sure your pets continue to be properly looked after. If this will be challenging then you could consider asking someone else to look after your pet during this time, but it’s not a requirement.
If your pet is staying with you, try to minimise contact as much as possible. It may help to have another person in your household take on the day-to-day care of your pet while you are ill. Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before and after touching your pet, their food or other pet related items, or when disposing of their waste, and follow all other NHS self-isolation guidelines. Avoid kissing your pet or letting your pet lick you, especially your face, and don’t share food with them.
Can my cat go outside?
Ensuring your cat continues to get daily activity is important for both their physical and mental health.
If your cat normally goes outdoors, it is advised to keep them indoors for the period of your self-isolation. While there is no evidence that pets can spread the disease to others, or become sick themselves, it’s advised to take precautions until more is known about this particular new strain. Staying indoors can be stressful for cats if they are not used to it. We have advice for reducing stress in cats, plus ideas for indoor games with cats.
Can I walk my dog if I’m self-isolating? Is it safe for someone else to walk my dog for me?
You shouldn’t leave your house while self-isolating, so this would include taking your dog for a walk. If you have a private garden, then you can take your dog there to go the toilet and to play games. However, a daily walk is really important for dogs’ physical and mental health, so if possible, ask a friend or family member to take your dog out for you. You could also book a professional dog walker but let them know in advance that you are self-isolating. Keep the handover as brief as possible and make sure you both wash your hands before and after handling the dog. Maintain a minimum of two metres distance at all times.
Is it safe to stroke other people’s pets? Can I still feed stray cats?
Although there is no evidence that pets can spread the disease, we’d advise taking sensible precautions until more is known. We’d suggest not interacting with pets owned by people who might themselves be self-isolating, just in case. If this is unavoidable, ensure you wash your hands after any contact.
What if I run out of dog food or other items?
We’d advise making sure you have a week’s supply of pet food in the house at all times. If you do find yourself running short of supplies and are unable to leave the house, then friends or family could drop these off to you. You could also order supplies online, just ask people to drop items at the door for you and make sure they don’t enter the house. Remember to secure your pet in another room before opening the door.
What if my pet needs to see a vet?
If your pet needs vet care during this period, call your vet in the first instance. Don’t leave the house to go to your vet if you are self-isolating. Your vet may be able to arrange for someone else to bring your pet in for an appointment if needed.
My pet needs ongoing medication, can I get bigger prescription to ensure I don’t run out?
If you are worried about a pet that needs repeat medication, call your vet for advice. For certain repeat prescriptions, it may be possible for them to post or deliver these to you. If not, then you could arrange for someone else to collect these and drop them off for you.
Reducing contact with my pet will be stressful for me, what can I do?
We understand that for many people their pet can make a huge difference to your mental health. A period of isolation can be difficult and frustrating for everyone concerned. That’s why we recommend keeping your pet with you in most circumstances. You can still see them and enjoy their antics. If you are finding things difficult, then the NHS has some guidelines on looking after your mental health.
Click HERE for the PDSA website
Coronavirus in dogs and cats - Advice from Blue Cross For Pets
Until further tests are carried out, there is no current evidence that pets can be infected with the new coronavirus or be carriers of the virus.There is currently a dog in Hong Kong who has tested weakly positive for coronavirus. Though it isn’t yet confirmed whether this is environmental contamination through the dog’s nose and mouth or whether they have really been infected, which means the situation is still evolving.
It is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after stroking your pets for protection against other bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals.
Covid-19 is a new strain of the coronaviruses that, like seven other strains throughout history, is thought to have made the jump from animals to humans, though the exact source of this strain is still under investigation.
This virus can cause pneumonia, coughing, fever and difficulty with breathing and, in extreme cases, death.
If you have travelled abroad recently and feel unwell, contact the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next.
Click HERE for the Blue Cross website