COVID-19 and Your Pet
We wanted to share with you some tips and ideas for how you can best take care of yourself and your pets with the current coronavirus climate. We know that situations like this can come with worries that you aren’t doing the right thing for you and your furry friends, but rest assured, according to WHO (World Health Organisation) and the Oie (World Organisation For Animal Health) the current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human-to-human contact, and to date there is no reason to believe that our pets can catch or spread the virus. However, it is important to be ready should you fall ill so that your pets will be taken care of, as well as putting in place some simple preventative measures to help stop the spread of any nasty germs!
Written by Leona Chapman
Estimated Reading time 2 minutes.
Firstly, we would recommend booking a general health check with your vet for any older pets or for pets with pre-existing health conditions just in case there should be a lockdown. This way you know that your pet is taken care of in the situation that vets are made to close temporarily in the future. This is especially a good idea if you have a pet that takes regular medication as you can make sure you are stocked up. Remember, there is no reason to believe just yet that the UK will be going into lockdown any time soon, but regular health checks for your furry friend are always a good idea anyway.
Another good idea is to have some extra food put aside for your pet (and yourself) in case you fall ill and need to self-isolate as is recommended by the NHS. Now, we’re not saying to go out and empty the shelves, an extra 2 weeks worth of pet food is plenty. Remember to be mindful of the needs of others and try to only buy what you need. If you happen to have lots of spare pet food lying around, perhaps consider donating some to animal rescues and shelters who will be hit hard by a lack of donations during this time.
It is also a good idea to designate a secondary care-taker for your pet should you fall ill. We recommend doing this outside of COVID-19 anyway as it means your pet is cared for through any unseen emergencies and removes any extra stress when these situations may arise. Whether they are a friend or a family member, find someone you know can take over any feeding, watering and walking duties for your pet (and cuddling duties of course!)
It’s recommended that you wash your hands before and after interacting with your cat or dog, which is a good practise to get into, as it protects you from common bacteria such as E.Coli and salmonella which can be passed between pets and humans. You also should avoid sharing plates, bowls, cups and food with your pets (and other people) to avoid spreading any germs between you (so no sharing ice creams with Fido!) It may also be helpful to wash your pets paws with a mild soap or pet shampoo after they have been outside, especially if you live in a busy city. Just make sure not to do this too often as paws are a very sensitive part of your pets body and you don’t want to make them sore.
If you do fall ill or begin to show symptoms, you should stay at home for 7 days and call 111 as the NHS advise. During this time it is important to try and limit your contact with others, so it may be a good idea to try and limit your contact with your pet also, especially if you and your pet live with other people as any germs from you may get carried in your pets fur. If your pet has any scheduled vets appointments during the time you are ill you should ring your vets to let them know you are ill and they will decide whether it is appropriate for someone else to bring your pet or if they will rearrange your appointment for when you are better.
Most importantly, make sure your pet is getting enough stimulation. It is unavoidable that you will probably be missing out on walkies or keeping your kitty indoors a little more than usual, so make sure that they are still entertained and having fun! Be sure to provide plenty of toys, treats and maybe even try and teach them some new tricks to keep their minds busy. Hiding treats in old cardboard boxes is a great, easy way to keep your pet entertained as they try to retrieve the hidden morsel!
Current events can bring uncertainty and anxiety to us all, but it is important to try our best to carry on, take sensible precautions and look after each other and our pets. Some helpful resources we would recommend to stay up to date with the latest guidance are:
The NHS website - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
The WHO website - https://www.who.int/
Public Health England latest information and advice - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
*Header image by @picturesque.pineapple @panamapaws Hiro drinking by Ben Broomfield, Dog Leaping by Guy Hills