It’s been about a year since we first heard the words Corona and COVID on the airwaves and reports.
Today, with a vaccine looming, we still are still having massive outbreaks of COVID-19 throughout the country and may still we have questions about the virus, the disease and ideal protocol. But what we have gained in the months of this pandemic is scientific research as well as perspective of time. Though it often seemed that every answer only brought on more questions, there have been helpful statements brought out by the CDC, WHO and the AVMA to help educate people and pet owners. Here are some important facts to know:
- While dogs may be infected, it is mainly a human to human transmitted disease
- A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reported to have become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.
- Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
If you become sick with COVID-19 and own pets, you should ideally delegate the care of your pets to another family member or friend who is not infected and isolate from them as well as possible. Please keep in mind:
- If you become sick with COVID and live by yourself and are unable to find someone outside your residence to care for your pet, you should wear a mask when dealing with them, refrain from close hugging, petting, kissing or sharing food items and wash hand thoroughly after dealing with them.
- If you are sick with COVID and are able to find a friend outside you home to care for them, you should give them a copy of medical records, your veterinarian’s name and phone number, your pets medications and instructions on when and how to administer them , along with the name or label of appropriate food and instructions for feeding.
- If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you or a person in your household has been sick with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.
Because there is a risk that people with COVID-19 could spread the virus to animals, CDC recommends that pet owners limit their pet’s interaction with people outside their household. These measures include:
- Walking dogs on a leash at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.
- Keeping pets indoors when possible and do not let them roam freely outside.
- Avoiding public places where many people gather.
- Do not put a mask on pets. Masks could harm your pet.
Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other products, such as hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about appropriate products for bathing or cleaning your pet.