The Novel Coronavirus (covid 19) is a highly virulent virus. It has been originally identified in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China in January 2020. The virus is highly contagious and has been swift to spread across much of the World. To avoid the spread of this disease, the UK Government has stated that people with COVID-19 symptoms will have to self-isolate for 7 days.
Self-isolation is a necessary measure that raises many questions as to how to behave. Such as how to look after our pets during this period. Can you have contact with them? snuggle them? Take them out for a walk? Read on to find answers to these questions and many others!
You may find the following articles useful too. What to do if you think you have coronavirus and How to Care for Someone Who Might Have Coronavirus Covid 19.
- Limit contact with pets & animals. You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with Coronavirus COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals contracting COVID-19, it is still recommended that people suffering from Coronavirus COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
- When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are ill with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet. Contact includes petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. You might have to care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick. In that case, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets. Always wear a facemask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
- Walking your dog. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, stated that older people who will have to self-isolate, will still be able to walk their dogs, even if with a certain degree of prudence. Mr. Shapps said “it is the case that people will be able to go out and walk your dog. It’s about being sensible without going and mixing in crowds.” It is still recommendable to avoid long walks and the most overcrowded hours. You are aiming to exercise yourself and your dog without coming closer than 2 metres with another individual.
- However, if you are self-isolating because you have COVID-19 symptoms, you must not take your dog out for a walk. Even if you were to plan to stay close to your residence and go out early in the morning or late in the evening, this is not advised. Ask friends, relatives or arrange for a dog walker to take your dog out. Furthermore, remember that you need to have as little contact as possible with whoever is caring for your pet. Ensure people know you think you may have Coronavirus. They need to stay well away from you and wash their hands thoroughly after looking after your pet.
- If your pet becomes unwell. do not take them to the vet yourself. Always call the practise for instructions and follow the vet’s instruction exactly. You may need to arrange for someone else to take your pet for treatment.
Do you need further information on the topic? We suggest you read the COVID-19 Update for the Veterinary Profession by the British Veterinary Association.
First Aid for Pets provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for veterinary advice. The author does not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies or for any mistreatment or misdiagnosis of any person or animal, however caused. We strongly recommend that you attend a practical First Aid for Pets course or take our online course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.