Since the onset of the novel coronavirus, several rumours have been doing the rounds. Let’s clarify them for the purpose of educating ourselves.
Can companion animals or pets give it to us?
Several prominent organisations such as the World Health Organisation, World Organization for Animal Health (WHO), PeTA, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Veterinary Medical Association, and the like, have stated that there has been no concrete evidence to suggest that an animal can spread the disease.
What do the experts say?
World Organization for Animal Health: “The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. To date, there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.”
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention: “At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19.”
American Veterinary Medical Association: “At this time, experts have not expressed concern about transmission to or from animals. Multiple international health organizations have indicated that pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting COVID-19.”
What can we do to keep our pets and community animals safe?
Don’t put a facemask on an animal as it can cause breathing difficulties.
There is no need to restrict the movements or activities of community animals or pets or do anything that would compromise their overall welfare.
It is safest and best to ensure that all the community animals as well as our pets are up to date with their vaccinations, regular veterinary check-ups, and any other preventive measures that need to be taken to protect them from heartworm, fleas and ticks.
An individual who is sick or is under medical treatment for COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets and let someone else in the family attend to them, so as to prevent your pet from contracting the virus.
How to care for your pet and other community animals during a lockdown?
If you’re concerned about how to manage work from home and caring for your pet, try taking daily walks or stay active with your pets indoors. Games like tug-of-war or fetch with your dog will help keep them active. Cats also have a variety of toys, even a simple cardboard box will do the trick.
Despite not having any evidence that animals could spread the virus that causes COVID-19 as stated by the WHO, it is essential that you wash your hands, both before and after you come in contact with any animal, including your own pet.
Be careful not to expose your pet to the virus. Those diagnosed with coronavirus should refrain from touching their pets and maintain a safe distance. Let a healthy household member take care of your pet.
Build an emergency kit for yourself and your pet. This should include a 30 day supply of pet medication and 2 weeks’ worth of food and other supplies that your pet may need.
Ensure your pet wears a collar with an identification tag with all relevant information such as, the pet’s name, telephone number, your name and any urgent medical needs. Make sure to put all the information down on the carriers as well.
After extensive research and reading, in the event that the coronavirus is able to replicate in dogs at reasonable levels, we think it’s safe to presume that you are much more susceptible to being infected by your neighbour than your dog. Nevertheless, it is vital to practice good hygiene around any pet(s). This will prevent accidental carrying of the viruses on their furs and spreading it from person to person.
Stay Calm and Stay Safe!