As if worrying about each other isn’t stressful enough, love in the time of coronavirus extends to our pets, too. Owners are currently unsure about how to care for dogs and cats, when both social distancing and top-notch hygiene are entirely unfamiliar concepts to our furry pals.
So at first glance, the recent news that the first dog to test positive for coronavirus has died三级成人视频, seems worrying. The pooch, a 17-year-old Pomeranian in Hong Kong, tested ‘weak positive’ last month. It was allowed to return home after two negative tests on March 12 and 13, only to die on Monday 16 March.
三级成人视频However, before you put two and two together and start looking up dog isolation techniques, it’s important to note that the cause of the Pomeranian’s death is not clear. According to Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the owner has said she’s not willing to allow an autopsy on her pet. Experts are still convinced that animals are in no danger from Covid-19, and given the dog’s age, and the fact that it showed no symptoms, it’s perfectly possible it died from natural causes.
三级成人视频Still, until we have more research available, many pet lovers will prefer to err on the cautious side. My two Working Cocker Spaniels, Ellroy and Larkin, are lucky enough to live in rural isolation, so their walks are unaffected, and they seldom meet other humans. But do pet owners living in busier areas have reason to worry about virus transmission – and what’s the best pet practice to adopt if we get ill?
Here’s the latest information to keep you and your pets as safe as possible.
Can pets catch coronavirus?
三级成人视频The latest medical thinking, according to both the World Organisation for Animal Health and the NHS is no, they can’t. “There are other fairly harmless strains of Corona that pets can catch,” says vet and founder of Animal Trust Owen Monie (). “These can’t be caught from - or passed onto - humans, and usually show up as a mild tummy upset. But to date, there is no evidence that animals can catch or carry Covid-19.”
Should I be careful around pets?
三级成人视频If you do develop coronavirus, scrupulous hygiene is vital anyway. To avoid any risk of your dog or cat carrying the virus on its fur, the World Organisation for Animal Health advises hand washing “before and after being around animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.” So no more Whiskas for you, people.
Can I pet other peoples' dogs?
You can, but the sensible approach is caution, advises vet Dr Katie Friel-Russell, who runs Positive Pet Training ().
“Dogs can probably carry the virus on their coat, in the same way your phone could,” she says. “It can be hard not to pet a cute dog but for now, you could throw them a treat, tell them how good they are and move on!”
Can I walk my dogs?
Unless you’re self-isolating or ill, yes. But observe the two metre social distance rule. “Avoid busy areas and places where it is difficult to stay away from other dog walkers” says Dr Friel-Russell. “Even on pavements, you can cross the road with your dog to give others space. If you usually let your dog off the lead, try to prevent close contact with other dogs for now, as although it’s low risk, transmission could occur from one coat to another.”
What if I'm self-isolating or have the virus?
Ideally, someone else would walk your dog. But most small or medium sized dogs will be OK in the garden for half an hour each day. “Some dogs can find this hard but you can keep them happy at home with sniffing, chewing and playing,” says Dr Friel-Russell. “Even feeding them meals in an empty cereal box rather than a bowl will break up the day for them.” For larger dogs, consider using a trusted dog walker.
Should I disinfect pet toys and bowls?
You can’t treat your home like an operating theatre, and if the items are not leaving the house, there’s no need to change your usual routine, says Dr Friel-Russell.
Will vets stay open?
三级成人视频At present, that’s the plan - and it will only change if vets become ill. “Most vet practices have made some changes already,” says Monie. “To avoid infection, we’re asking just one person to bring in pets, and then wait outside or in the car until it’s their turn.” Owners will be asked to wash or use hand-gel when they enter and practice social distancing. Don’t panic, he adds, “vets are still operating a full service, but if staff fall ill, practices will cancel non-essential treatments and prioritise sick pets.”
The RSPCA adds: “Follow your vet surgery’s official social media, as this is a useful way to get updates.”
Should I stockpile petfood?
三级成人视频Definitely not, says Monie. “At this point, there’s plenty for everyone, so just buy as normal.” You might, of course, want to buy your pets a few treats. It’s a tough time for everyone - and our loyal companions deserve a reward for being so good.