The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably derailed our lives in the most unimaginable ways possible. Although we were able to adjust to the routine of social distancing and working / studying from home for the most part, this new change can be and has been especially bizarre for our furry family. While having more time to spend with your pet is a good thing, it is also important to keep your pet safe and healthy from the novel coronavirus.

While the rate of animals infecting humans with COVID-19 remains very low, there have been a few reports of pets contracting the virus from their owners. Dogs are relatively less affected compared to cats. Although dogs are susceptible to contracting canine respiratory coronavirus, it is not the same as the COVID-19 virus. If you test positive for COVID-19, you must take all the necessary precautions to isolate yourself and stay away from your family, including your pet(s). It is strongly recommended that another member of the family care for your pet while you are in quarantine. However, if you have a service animal or live alone with your pet, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after giving them their meals, and restrict all other kinds of contact with them.

If your pet starts showing any symptoms of illness like coughing, sneezing, tiredness, or vomiting, you must contact your veterinarian and make plans for possible treatment. If someone in the house contracts COVID-19 and your pet has similar symptoms, you must notify your veterinarian immediately. Avoid putting a mask on your pet as it is not an effective solution and will cause breathing difficulties in certain pet breeds.

The pandemic has been especially hard on all of us, including pets. In many places including Canada and the UK, there has been a marked increase in the demand for pets, especially dogs, while the world was on lockdown. Unfortunately, with the propagation of false news, people have adopted ineffective protective measures and some have even taken to abandoning their pets, much to the displeasure of doctors and other experts. Instead, veterinarians advise spending more time with your pets (unless infected) as it will be good for both pet and pet owner. It is suggested that you play more often with your pet and teach them new tricks to ensure their continued mental stimulation and happiness. However, it has been strongly recommended to keep your distance from other people and their pets for safety and cautionary reasons.