My heart goes out to everyone as we struggle together with the spread of COVID-19 causing a national health crisis. I truly hope that the information below helps keep you, and your pets, safe during the upcoming weeks. I wish everyone well. I know that we’ll all get through this crisis together—along with our pets!
Caring for Your Pets during the Coronavirus Crisis
Have you been concerned about the health of your pets as you’ve listened to the news reporting the continuing spread of the coronavirus? Have you wondered if they are at risk from this virus too? Take a deep breath and relax because to date the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. There is also no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19 either. You should continue to practice good hygiene, though, by washing your hands thoroughly before and after direct contact with your pets, their food, and their supplies.
North Shore Animal League America’s veterinary staff has released the guidelines below about how to care for pets during this crisis:
- All routine health care, such as an annual exams and vaccinations, can be postponed for some time without affecting your pet’s’ health. Immunity from cat and dog vaccines lasts longer than the duration given so they can be slightly overdue without increasing risk for sickness. Schedule a vaccination appointment now for the future in case you are quarantined.
- Don’t run out of essentials for your pets. Stock up now on prescription foods and medications so you have enough to last for up to two months.
- Make sure you have a pet first aid kit prepared.
- If a pet get injured or become very ill, he or she still must be seen by a veterinarian. Call before bringing the pet in.
You must plan ahead for help with pet care in case you become sick with COVID-19. It’s better if you don’t care for them yourself. You’ll need to limit contact with your animals so no petting, snuggling, or sharing kisses. There’s a chance that if you cough or sneeze on your pet, and someone else picks up your dog or cat up after you, they could get the virus — as if it’s transferring from any other surface.
So the smartest thing to do is ask a family member, a close friend, or a neighbor right now if they can pitch in with short- or long-term care if it becomes necessary. Make sure your caregiver has copies of your pets’ medical records, including vaccinations, and veterinarian contact information. You can also include things like your animals’ habits, particular behaviors, or food preferences.