Covid 19

COVID-19 AND PET CARE

Some tips, strategies, and recommendations for taking care of your pet during the "stay at home" mandate and if you get sick

 
Small dog breeds or Pomeranian with brow

THE DO'S AND DONT'S

  • Do bring your dog on walks. The fresh air and exercise is important for you both during this time. Avoid busy walking trails and stay at least 6 feet away from others as you are walking. Walking with a family member is okay but do not walk in a large group.

  • Do brush your pet daily and clean pet hair regularly. If you or a member of your family gets sick during this time, excess pet hair and dander can irritate your respiratory system.

  • Do replace your home’s air filters. Air filters in the home can hold pet hair and dander. If you or someone in your home gets sick, these irritants traveling through your air systems can cause more stress to your respiratory system.

  • Do not bring your pet to pet stores, dog parks, day cares, etc. during this time. Find other ways to provide stimulus and entertainment to your pets that fall within the stay at home mandate requests. If you have a dog that needs the company of other dogs, arrange small doggy play dates at a private home with a yard large enough for you to safely allow your dog to play while staying 6 feet from others. Doggy day cares may be open during this time with limited staff, please do not bring your dog if you are able to stay at home. Let essential workers (i.e. health care workers, emergency responders, grocery workers, etc.) use these services.

  • Do not bring your pet to the vet for routine care. Let vet offices be open with limited staff during this time for their own health by only using their services for emergencies. Call ahead to make sure your vet is open and see if there is a solution that can be reached over the phone prior to going to their offices.

  • Do not adopt a pet at this time. Many rescues are closed to adoptions during this time for the protection of their staff. Adopting a pet requires many community outings in order to get the pet, get the necessary supplies, and complete initial vet checks. If you are thinking of adopting a pet, take this time to research rescues in the area and talk to them about adoptable animals. Being at home for a few weeks may seem like a great time to acclimate a new pet and train them, but the risks are too great with how contagious the virus is.

  • Do wash your hands around your pets. The CDC has not reported any cases of pets getting the virus at this time. However, to protect yourself and your pets, practice regular hand hygiene when interacting with your pets and wash your hands before petting your pets if you have been out of your house. If you are sick, limit unnecessary interactions with your pet to protect their health and wash your hands prior to completing pet cares.

  • Do contact your local rescues to offer support. Local rescues may be hurting at this time due to limited staff and resources. Much of their income may also be disrupted with adoptions going on hold. Contact rescues to see if there is a need for fosters, volunteering within social distancing guidelines, or ways to donate supplies/money.

  • Do not use personal protective equipment for your pets. Personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, gowns) have not been shown to be effective when used on pets. These pieces of equipment are designed for people and should be reserved for those who are high risk and those who work in health care. If you want a mask or gown for your pet, please consider making one yourself.

  • Do continue to give your pets love and attention. Animals can often sense when we are stressed and if can have a great affect on them. Take advantage of this time at home to bond with your pets and do things together. Now could be a great time to learn new tricks together, find new ways to play with toys, and make homemade healthy meals/treats at home.

 

TIPS FOR IF YOU ARE SICK

  • Provide long lasting entertainment treats or toys to your pets to save energy:

    • Dogs: freeze yogurt, peanut butter, or cream cheese with kibble in a Kong toy, bone, or ice cube tray to make a long-lasting treat. Provide chew toys, puzzle toys, or bones are other forms of long-lasting entertainment.

    • Cats: laser pointers, automated toys (rolling/spinning mice, automated laser lights, toys that chirp), and assorted toys will help entertain cats and keep them active. Catnip and cat grass entertains many cats as well and encourages activity.

    • Small animals (hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc): providing long lasting chews and fresh veggies/fruits will entertain them and promote dental hygiene.

    • Birds: providing a mirror and playing music entertains many birds. Long lasting bird feeder treats and assorted hanging toys will also aid in entertainment.

    • Reptiles: if your reptile requires daily care and feeding, keep necessary items nearby at counter height to save energy. Save bigger tasks, like cleaning, for days you have more time and energy to complete them.

    • Fish: Use an automatic feeder or slow release food tablets to decrease daily care. The addition of aquarium cleaner animals (ghost shrimp, Plecos, snails) is a cost-effective way to decrease aquarium cleaning needs.

  • Limit unnecessary tasks- If you are sick, save your energy for the pet care tasks that must be done and simplify what you can

    • If you are able to, free feed your pet. This way they will have food for days at a time. However, do not do this if your pet will overfeed and become sick.

    • Make a schedule to spread necessary tasks out across the entire day and week

      • This way you can take breaks between tasks and not try to accomplish everything at once. This concept is called Energy Conservation. See the follow examples for ideas:

        • If you have a cat, limit the number of days you are cleaning the litter box. Some litters will cover the scent of cat messes for 2-3 days before the litter needs to be changed.

        • If you have a dog, try to give an hour between meal times and walks if you are living in an apartment. This way when you go out with your dog, your walks should be successful in them using the bathroom and also getting exercise. Please wear a mask if you go out with your dog and limit the number of surfaces you touch.

        • Perform light cleaning in small animal or reptile cages daily so you do not have a large cleaning task to perform once a week that will drain your energy.

  • If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or cough when bending over to complete pet care tasks, see our pet care strategies page for videos and suggestions to complete pet care without bending.

  • Use online delivery services (i.e. amazon, chewy.com, target.com, petsmart.com) to get pet supplies sent to your home without having to leave the house.

  • Reach out to family, friends, neighbors, local rescues, and/or community groups for help with your pets if pet care is too much to handle while you are sick. It is important for you to get better in order for your pet to get the best care possible. Many members of the community are willing to help others during this time. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, please have people taking care of your pet wear a mask and gloves while caring for your pet. If they take your pet to their home/facility while you are sick, have them disinfect all of the pet care supplies they receive from you and give your pet a thorough bath. Pets have not been reported to carry or get COVID-19 at this time, but the CDC recommends taking these precautions in case the virus is sitting on your pet or their supplies.