As pet owners working in healthcare we’ve watched reports of Covid infections in cats, dogs, tigers, mink and various other mammals with growing concern. But before you try to stick a mask on your furry friend, save yourself the trouble and review our tips below on looking after pets instead. Your pet will be much happier, plus you’re far less likely to get scratched or hissed at by a grumpy and confused cat!
Which animals can catch Covid-19?
Anyone who has read Six Dinner Sid will not be surprised to hear that outdoor cats are the most high-profile infected pets. Roaming freely while being petted and occasionally fed by multiple households increases their chance of contracting the virus and they have also shown the ability to pass the virus on to other cats.
Dogs on the other hand have caught the virus but seem far less likely to pass it on to other dogs. So far all of the animals that have been infected are mammals so snake/lizard owners can rest relatively easy on this one.
How to stop your pet catching coronavirus
The best way to keep your pets safe is to treat them like everyone else in the family wherever possible. Keep them inside in a clean environment whenever you can. When they need to go out for exercise or toilet breaks make sure they are on a leash and kept 2 metres away from people and pets from other households.
Please don’t put masks on pets or clean them with hand sanitisers, surface disinfectants, etc… These products are not intended for use on pets and masks specifically could cause difficulty breathing in addition to unnecessary stress and anxiety for the poor creature.
Can you go near pets if you have Covid?
If you are showing symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19, you should keep away from animals just like you would with people. If you have someone else who can takeover pet duty, rope them in to help until your isolation period is over. If you are the pet’s sole carer, limit interactions to a minimum and make sure you wear a mask as well as washing hands both before and after dealing with the animal. Bear in mind that nervous pets may be a little freaked out by you wearing a mask so take it slow as they adjust to your new appearance.
What to do if your pet shows Covid-19 symptoms
So far the few infected pets have shown mild to no symptoms but if you suspect they are infected keep them isolated from other animals and humans at home and phone your vet immediately, do not take the animal to see the vet. Follow the same advice regarding washing, masks and limited contact given above and do not relax the precautions until you’re given the go ahead from your vet.
More information on pets & Covid-19
So far there are no recorded animal deaths specifically from Covid-19 and very few cases of pets passing the disease back to their owners so try to relax and exercise caution rather than worrying yourself. For more information on what you can do, check out the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.