If you are like us, your dog is another member of your family. There has been a lot of misinformation online in various social media platforms regarding pets and COVID-19. We have attempted to pull together a short FAQ on the current situation.
Can you catch COVID-19 from your pets?
No. Although the virus is a zoonotic disease (spread from an animal species to humans) there is no evidence suggesting your pets can contract, carry, or spread the disease.
Can I still take my dog out for a walk?
Despite the social isolation and lockdown enforcement, the Australian Federal Government still encourages dog owners to walk their animals for both the animal’s welfare and the physical/emotional benefit of the owner.
This being said, practice caution and common sense when out in public:
- Wash your hands before and after leaving the house
- Avoid touching your face, touching frequently used public items, and touching your face
- Do not go to busy parks/beaches/areas
- Do not walk in or join groups of other people
- Do not leave the house if you are unwell
- Especially if you are displaying cold or flu like symptoms
- Follow all guidelines set by your local, state, and federal governing bodies
Is there anything I can do to improve the safety of my pets and myself?
There is no need to panic! If you follow the guidelines and instructions set by the government and other recognised organizations (i.e. WHO, CDC, and local equivalents) you and your pets should be perfectly ok.
Things to keep in mind and suggested practices:
- Do not bulk buy or hoard pet food or any other supplies
- This behaviour only causes panic and will make life more difficult for you and everyone else around you
- Regularly bath/wash your pets and check them for injuries/sores/ticks
- This simple practice will minimise the chances of your animals getting sick, the last thing anyone needs is their animal suffering from a preventable injury/illness
- If you need to take your pet to the Vet, call ahead!
- Veterinary hospitals must abide by the government’s one person for every 4square meter rule, and planning ahead will improve your personal, and the hospital staff’s, ability to practice safe social distancing
- WHO, accessed 27/03/20 https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
- RSPCA, accessed 27/03/20 https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/can-i-contract-covid-19-from-companion-animals/