Love During the Time of COVID and Your Canine
We outdoors people love our dogs but there’s so much misinformation out there concerning COVID and your canine that it’s our four-legged friends who could suffer. We’re not sure what’s right. Do you take your dog for walks? Do you pet your dog? Do you pet a friend’s dog? Do you let a friend pet your dog? Can you get the Coronavirus by petting a dog?
The World Health Organization is telling pet owners that we can’t catch COVID-19 from our animals. They stated, “There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. ” Dogs can contract certain types of coronaviruses, such as the canine respiratory coronavirus, but they got lucky this time around. COVI-19 has most of the world on lockdown but spared our best friends. Dogs are not affected by the virus.
Can You and Your Canine transmit COVID if someone sneezes or coughs on them? Read on…
In this time of uncertainty, who’s to say we all aren’t affected physically or emotionally by all of this? You’re quarantined at home 24/7. On the one hand, your fluffy friend must be ecstatic that he has company but, on the other, not only can they sense your anxiety, stress and apprehension for these coming weeks but he’s probably not getting the exercise or love that he should.
It’s okay to pet a dog
My boy couldn’t handle not being loved on by the masses. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the chances are low of contracting the Coronavirus by petting your dog. Phew. The AVMA’s Chief Veterinary Officer Gail Golab says, “We’re not overly concerned about people contracting COVID-19 through contact with your dogs and cats.” Medical experts say the virus survives best on smooth surfaces like countertops and doorknobs. Therefore, a porous surface like fur tends to trap pathogens, making it harder to contract them through touch. That said, if you do let others pet your dog, you should still use hand sanitizer before and after you touch your own dog and keep your own social distance. It’s the perfect time to put that six-foot leash to use.
Just check county rules and wash your hands
Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds before and after each walk but don’t use this quarantine time as an excuse for both of you not to exercise. Check your local regulations. Most quarantine restrictions are meant to curb loitering. States have made exceptions for essential jobs and errands, like walking your dog and exercising.
Healthy, non-positive dog owners need to get out daily but of course observe any local curfews. Your pup should still have a routine even if that routine is a “new” one. One thing to watch out for though is how sensitive dogs are to their environment. Just as they can sense storms and earthquakes, they can sense stress, anxiety and fear. Keep a close eye when they approach other dogs and people.
My friend’s kids decided to take her dog for a walk while she was sleeping and the normally docile pooch bit a neighbor just enough to draw blood. Now, on top of worrying about getting sick, she’ll be saddled with medical bills and the possibility of having to euthanize the family dog.
More than 80 million American households have at least one feline or canine family member. “Pets are truly an essential part of the family for millions of Americans, and we want to ensure the entire family stays healthy during this time—both mentally and physically,” says RestoraPet CEO Brian Larsen. The organization makes a pet supplement to rehabilitate and protect pets at the cellular level. *
Here are some more tips for pet parents to ensure your four-footed kids stay healthy and happy under quarantine.
10 tips for COVID-19 and your canine:
Stock up on supplies – Dogs don’t use toilet paper but there has been a run on dry dog food at certain big box retailers. Make sure your store has what you need before you venture out. If possible, avoid shopping in person altogether and order food, supplements, medications and toys online. You will want to have at least two weeks and, ideally, four weeks worth of supplies. I often hunt around the web for discount codes for Chewy and PetSmart to save money.
Have a contingency plan – If you get sick or have to leave, choose someone who can care for your pet in your stead. Of course, make sure to let them know they are your go-to person and inform them of any special needs your pet requires.
Take walks at “off” hours – Most folks are indoors by 8 p.m. but with sunset at 7:30 p.m. you’ll find more than a hour of light to play with. Strap on some reflectors (and grab a headlamp just in case) and take advantage of the stillness. Or wake up before the rest and catch the 7:30 a.m. sunrise.
Find indoor games or teach them tricks for mental exercise – Consider playing fetch with soft toys, hide and seek, or blowing bubbles for them to chase. Order a puzzle toy or set up an indoor agility course. We just learned how to find treats.
Meter Food –According to a recent Pet Obesity Prevention survey, nearly 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs are considered overweight or obese. With the amount of time we are lounging, it’s easy to overfeed our pets.
Quarantine yourself from pets – There’s no official backing that COVID-19-positive people can pass the virus to their pets but if you do suspect you’re sick, it’s probably best to let others handle your pet or, at the least, limit contact with them as much as possible. If you do pet them, wash your hands both before and after. Don’t kiss or snuggle with them, maybe even wear a face mask if you have one. Dogs do not need masks!
Plan for medical emergencies – If your pet needs a vet, call ahead so you both aren’t sitting in a public waiting room. Have updated medical records and if you dog likes to wander make sure she’s chipped.
Catching COVID from a Canine? It Depends.
So what’s the answer to whether it’s ok to pet a dog during the COVID-19 Crisis?
If it’s your dog– Love on him all you want. If you get sick, don’t kiss him. Don’t be afraid to let others pet him, just use sanitizer and wash up before you touch him again.
If it’s someone else’s dog– If the owner is asymptomatic and wishes it, yes; but use hand sanitizer before and after petting, and wash your hands when you get home just in case someone contagious sneezed on him or rubbed him with a non-sanitized hand. No one has been known to have contacted the virus by petting a dog but better safe than sorry.
These are times that test our whole being so take a deep breath and try to relax. Pets pick up on our nervous energy. The best we can do for both of us is to find the calm. Breathe deep, stroke them gently, and make sure to give them your full, undivided attention for at least 15 minutes a day. You’ll both feel the world lighten a little.