Is the coronavirus disease a danger to your pet?

submitted by VCA Neshaminy Animal Hospital

While we have now seen a few reports of human-to-animal transmission in pets belonging to people with COVID-19, there are currently no reports of pets found to be the primary source of infection or animal-to-human transmission.

SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is a human virus and the largest known (at this time) transmission risk is between people and not from pets to humans.

People who test positive for COVID-19 should be isolated from people and pets to ensure that they do not inadvertently transfer infection.

Three things to remember:

  1. Keep infected people away from pets if at all possible.
  2. Keep pets exposed to people with COVID-19 away from unexposed people and animals.
  3. Good hygiene and proper hand washing should be practiced when handling pets. If you are not ill with COVID-19, you may interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking them on a leash, feeding them, and playing with them.

Should you still walk your dog if you’re ordered to shelter in place?

You can still walk your dog outside as long as you practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other people.

Don’t forget to keep your dog on a leash at all times! If you can’t walk your dog outside, you can provide physical exercise indoors with pet food puzzles, playing fetch indoors, or practicing recall commands in your home.

How might me working at home affect my pet’s routines? Some pets will love the extra attention and companionship while other pets may need their space.

Pets usually like routine because it’s predictable, so changes to their daily routine could be stressful for some pets.

Make it easy for your dog or cat to understand when it’s playtime and when you need to work.

If you are playing with your pet, do it away from your workspace and be fully engaged with your pet.

When it’s time to work and it is hard to ignore your pet’s attention seeking behavior, give your pet a toy that encourages independent play such as a food puzzle (e.g. a stuffed Kong or treat puzzle).

Teach your pet to work for its food. Take advantage of your pet’s natural hunting instinct by feeding your pet with a food puzzle or hide treats in different parts of your house so your pet has to actively search for them.

Do your best to maintain a consistent schedule and if your pet seems more anxious, seek help from your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.

PHOTO CAP: Ophelia, a VCA employee’s pet, at Pennypack Park

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