The American Veterinary Medical Association is urging its members to check in with clients on their pet care plans in the event that they contract the novel coronavirus.
Pet owners should make plans for their pet’s basic care (feeding, walking, etc.) in case they get infected. This applies to pet owners who live alone as well as transferring pet care duties to another member of the household if the main caregiver becomes ill.
Veterinarians note that COVID is primarily a human concern, but a small number of cases have been seen in pets.
As one vet notes, “These cases in pets appear to be uncommon, and are mostly mild or asymptomatic, but they can still happen. To be safe, and until we know more about the virus, AVMA recommends those ill with COVID restrict contact with their pets, just as they would restrict contact with other people.”
If you live alone and are caring for your pets, the AVMA recommends that you take these simple precautions while ill:
- Avoid close contact with pets, including snuggling, kissing, and sharing food or bedding.
- Wear a mask to protect your pets.
- Wash your hands before interacting with your pets.
Sadly, because hospitalization is a possibility, it is important for pet owners who live alone to identify a person or facility who can care for their pets.
The AVMA also advises pet owners to do the following to ensure safety:
- Don’t let your pets interact with people or animals outside of the household, especially in areas with high case numbers.
- Keep cats indoors to prevent them from encountering other people and animals.
- Walk your dog on a leash and maintain 6 feet of separation from other people and animals.
- Avoid dog parks and other places where people and their dogs gather.
Our pets can be a great source of comfort to us during difficult times, so enjoy your time together with your pet…you both will benefit!