As the COVID-19 pandemic swiftly unfolded around the globe, you might have encountered some media reports about companion animals - and more exotic species like tigers and lions - getting infected by the coronavirus. As pet parents, it is natural to be worried about our furbabies’ health and state at this time. That is why we gathered everything that you need to know about the disease and its effect on your furry family members, and some tips and tricks to keep them happy amidst the pandemic.

 

What is a coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.

 

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, on the other hand, is the infectious disease caused by the recently discovered coronavirus which was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

 

Can pets get the new coronavirus?

According to the World Organization for Animal Health, there is a possibility for some animals to become infected through close contact with infected humans. As of this writing, there are only isolated reports of humans transmitting the virus to their pets, and there are no known reports of these pets becoming ill with COVID-19 symptoms.

 

Can pets spread the coronavirus?

Although it is believed that the COVID-19 virus emerged from an animal source, there’s still no evidence to suggest that pets who are infected by their owners can spread the disease.

 

While there are also preliminary findings from laboratory studies that indicate cats as the most susceptible species for COVID-19, these studies do not suggest that cats have an important part in spreading the virus among humans. The current outbreak of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. 

 

Is there a COVID-19 vaccine for dogs and cats?

Currently, there is still no vaccine available against COVID-19 for both people and animals.  There is a canine coronavirus vaccine, but it is directed against another member of the coronavirus family and does not provide protection against COVID-19.

 

If I am diagnosed with COVID-19, how do I protect my pet?

If you are showing symptoms of the disease, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you should exercise caution and limit contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.  This can help ensure both you and your furbabies stay healthy.

 

Do also note that:

  • When possible, ask a friend or family member to care for your furbabies while you are sick.
  • If you are unable to find someone to watch over your furbabies, try to avoid contact with them if possible. This includes petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your furbabies or be around them while you are sick, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes wearing a cloth face covering and hand washing with soap after handling your pets, their food or supplies.

 

To help reduce the spread of all germs, you may also consider using grooming wipes to wipe your pet’s fur and paw when they come in and out of your home.

 

Should I Quarantine my Pet?

Some pet owners have equipped their furbabies with tiny face masks, but there’s little advantage to that. Pets do not need a face mask to protect them against the virus. In fact, it can even distress them and possibly could cause them to show clinical signs of induced mental conditions. Pet parents should stick to practicing proper hygiene in order to combat the infectious disease.

 

In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pet parents should not allow their furbabies to come into contact with other humans or animals outside the household for the time being.

 

What pet items should I have on hand while in quarantine?

Every pet parent should consider stocking up at least a month’s worth of pet essentials like food and litter. When shopping for food, take into consideration the changes in the habit and lifestyle of your furbaby. If your pup’s activity level has decreased at home, try to lower his caloric intake to around 20-30% less.

 

Many medications are also essential for your furbaby’s overall health and discontinuing it suddenly can cause severe consequences. If your pet is on medication, evaluate how much you have on hand. If you are going to run out of medicines within the month, contact your veterinarian.

 

How can I help my furbaby feel calm?

Your furry felines and pups can tune into your emotions and feed off from it. So when they see you looking stressed and overly anxious, they can simulate these emotions. One great way to keep your furbabies and yourself at ease at this current situation is to practice meditation with them. Try to dedicate just 10 minutes of your day - three or four days a week - to focus on deep breathing and relaxation. The more often you practice this with your pet, the easier it is to perform.

 

Moreover, do your best to maintain the normal routine of your furbaby because this is very important to their eating and elimination patterns. A disrupted routine can cause anxiety, discomfort and accidents.

 

What are the best activities to keep my furbaby active and entertained while in quarantine?

Mental games and mentally stimulating toys are the best tools to keep your pets active during confinement. You could do some training exercises while feeding your pup and present his food as the reward, or you can hide your kitty’s favorite kibble within a toy that she must bat and hunt in order to release the scrumptious treat. You can also create a mini obstacle course around your home, just make sure that your furbaby has ample access throughout these areas. Try to set aside 20 to 30 minutes each day for dedicated play time. By doing this, your connection with your furbaby will grow significantly, and they’ll surely love you even more for it.

 

 

Sources: