The new Coronavirus is a rapidly evolving disease that has taken the world by storm, spreading like wildfire wherever it goes. Adult men and women, children, and teens are all left vulnerable in the face of Covid-19. To stay safe, it helps to remain indoors to limit human interaction. If you have to step out, maintaining the highest level of hygiene helps lower your chances of infection. This means sanitizing and cleaning your hands frequently, putting on protective gloves, and a mask whenever you’re out shopping or interacting with other people. But where does this leave our furry, slimy or scaly friends?

While it hasn’t yet been officially confirmed whether or not Covid-19 can negatively affect animals and pets, it’s better to be safe than sorry by ensuring their protection too. As a pet owner, you must feel weary about not having enough information about Covid-19 and your pets. So to help shed some light, here are answers to some common questions surrounding this issue.

What is the best way to keep my pet safe from Covid-19?

The safest way to keep you and your pet safe is by practicing good hygiene. The simple act of washing your hands every time you touch your pet or after you return home from your routine pet walks is a responsible way of keeping you both safe not just from Covid-19 but also from other germs and bacteria.

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze even when you are around your pet. Maintain a safe distance from people who are sick. Regularly disinfect your home, focusing mainly on common areas like the door handles, the bathroom, toilet, and staircases.

In a nutshell, good hygiene shouldn’t be something you do once in a while. To keep your pets safe and comfortable, make it routine to clean yourself, your pets, and your spaces.

How do I keep my hyperactive pet occupied during quarantine?

Most pet owners tend to feel guilty about having to lock their dogs and cats indoors. Cats and Dogs also tend to become quite weary and troublesome if they go for too long without taking their routine walks or when locked in the house for days.

Provided the regional and national restrictions in your area allow it, you can step out for a few minutes to walk your dog. Remember to maintain distance from other people and their pets by at least six feet.

If the rules don’t allow it, you may let your pets roam free in your front or back yards just so they can run around, breathe some fresh air and blow off some steam. Make sure that they are ever under your watchful eye lest they get any ideas and decide to flee. You could also make space in your living room by moving the furniture where you can play games with your pets.

Should you stay away from your pet if you suspect you have the Covid-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that you exercise caution by staying away from your pet if you are exhibiting signs and symptoms of having Covid-19. If you have to be admitted to the hospital or you’re ordered to self-isolate at home, it’s prudent to ask a friend or a close relative to look after your pet as you recover.

Avoid contact with your pet. If you have a dog, don’t let him lick you, don’t pet him, don’t share your food with your pet, and refrain from snuggling with him in bed. The fewer interactions you have with your pet, the safer it is for them.

There have been cases of house cats and dogs testing positive for Covid-19 after sharing spaces with owners who also tested positive for the virus. It is, however, not clear if the virus was transmitted from the human to the animals or from another source.

What should I do if I suspect that my pet is sick?

With only a few confirmed cases of Coronavirus in cats and dogs globally, it’s still a long shot for yours to contract the virus. However, if your pets show signs of difficulty breathing, have diarrhea, or generally look unwell, it would be better to get them checked by a veterinarian.

Note that in the wake of Covid-19, the vet doctors and nurses are also doing their best to limit human interaction. They would hence prefer to collect the pet from your car once you get to the hospital. Their goal is to treat your pet successfully while simultaneously making sure they stay safe from infection.

Is it true that dogs and cats can get sick from Coronavirus?

The strain of Coronavirus that dogs and cats can get is quite different from the one that affects humans. It has already been established humans cannot get sick from the same type of Coronavirus that affects canines and felines. However, while there’s a vaccine that can protect your cats and dogs from contracting Coronavirus, the same vaccine is inactive against Covid-19, the strain of Coronavirus that affects humans.

Did Covid-19 come from animals?

There is sufficient evidence pointing to the strain of Coronavirus present in horseshoe bats being quite similar to the type of Coronavirus now present in infected humans. It is therefore suspected that the strain in the horseshoe bats managed to jump from the animals to humans.

So yes, it’s true that the virus came from animals, but there’s no evidence showing that animals are responsible for the transmission of Covid-19.

What Official Reports Show Regarding Covid-19 and Your Pets

Researchers have traced Covid-19 back to the Wuhan wet market in China, where the first human case of the virus was reported. The only confirmed cases of domestic pets having contracted Coronavirus involve two dogs from Hong Kong, two house cats from New York, and a Tiger from the Bronx Zoo. In all these cases, all animals have shown mild symptoms and seem to be recovering well. However, one Pomeranian dog that tested positive from Hong Kong died only a day after he was declared free of the virus and released from quarantine.

Further research has revealed that Coronavirus can indeed spread from one cat to another. The threat isn’t something that should cause alarm, as only a few cases have been reported. There are no reports of transmission from house cats to humans. No other instances of Covid-19 in pets have been confirmed. Pet owners are hence being encouraged to maintain the highest levels of hygiene to keep your pets safe from the virus.

Despite the confirmations above, the CDC-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain that there is no sufficient evidence to prove that Covid-19 may originate from wildlife, domestic pets, or livestock.

Bottom Line

The bond people share with their pets is super special. As a pet owner, you are responsible for keeping your pet healthy and safe from anything that puts your pets’ health and wellbeing at risk.

Your concern for your pet’s safety during these harsh times is not misplaced. In your quest to maintain the utmost care for your beloved pets, follow the advice as directed higher above. This way, you lower the probability of infection between your pets.

Numerous pet owners seem to think that their animals are a risk to their health. A misplaced notion that has seen a rise in people dumping and abandoning their pets. Well, for starters, nothing points towards there being transmission of Covid-19 from humans to pets or from pets to humans. If all the factual information in this comprehensive read is anything to go by, it is in good faith for you to keep caring for your pets and not abandon them in fear of infection. So long as you abide by the rules and stay clean, you have nothing to worry about.

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  • Sarah is the managing editor and a frequent contributor at Creature Companions. Sarah is originally from sunny Florida, but has lived in Cyprus, China and Northern Ireland from 2009-2018. She currently resides, with her husband, Derek, in the City of Love, Philadelphia. Sarah is passionate about helping pet parents create a healthy lifestyle through preventative healthcare and positive enrichment for a long, vibrant life of their four-legged friends. She's had pets (mostly dogs) and has been writing about pet-focused topics, advice and trends since 2012.