As Coronavirus or COVID-19 – grinds the world to a halt, many are left wondering what they can and cannot do with their pets during this pandemic.
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that pets can be carriers of Coronavirus, nor become poorly from it; however, your pets may be impacted if you or any members of your family test positive and find yourselves self-isolating.
Many dog owners are quite rightly querying how they will walk their dogs now we have been advised to social distance ourselves, and what happens if they need to self-isolate.
I’m choosing to social distance, what should I do with my pets?
If you haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate then you can continue your role as a pet owner as normal. However, it is a good idea to adopt good hygiene practices such as washing your hands before and after touching them, as well as handling their toys and food.
Whilst you are able to still go outdoors, it might be a good idea to stock up on enough food and bedding for your pets, just in case you do suddenly find yourselves unable to go outdoors and having to stay home.
If you are well in yourself and haven’t been told to stay at home, then you can still take your dog for a walk, however, under current Government guidance, you should keep two metres away from others. It might be wise to avoid busy periods at the park.
There is currently no restriction on exercising larger animals such as horses, however, all competitions have been suspended until further notice.
What if I’m poorly – how do I meet my pet’s needs?
If you’re unable to walk your dog, it’s a good idea to ensure that they still have plenty of time in the back garden. Regular toilet breaks are still an important factor in your dog’s daily routine and this will need to replace their walking for a while.
You can use toys to keep them entertained or stimulated whilst you need to rest. Encourage them to play with their toys or use a Kong to keep them mentally stimulated and busy.
When you’re feeling up to it you can still play with your pets, but it’s important to keep washing your hands. Small animals will still need access to clean bedding regularly and large animals such as horses and cows will still need feeding and their bedding cleaned daily.
Whilst you’re unable to go outside and tend to larger animals such as horses, it’s important to have a care plan in place and a designated person that is able to look after them and tend to their needs for you. If you are on a yard, your yard owner might be able to assist with this.
If you feel that you are going to struggle to look after any pet during this difficult time and whilst you’re stuck at home then it may be worth asking a friend to have your pet for a couple of weeks. If this isn’t an option, you could contact your local kennels or pet boarding facility to see if they can help.
Please remember that all this is a precautionary measure and there is currently no evidence that pets can become unwell.
This article is for information and guidance only and we are not experts. If you are worried about your pets at any time, phone your Veterinarian for assistance, but do explain your situation so they can ensure your pet receives the right care whilst isolating yourself.