By some estimates, almost 70 percent of households in the U.S. own a pet of some sort. While it's hard to track the exact number of pet owners out there, there's no doubt that the numbers are high. As a pet owner, responsibility for your furry friend can make the current coronavirus pandemic that much more frightening.
Thousands of other pet owners just like you are wondering about cat and dog safety right now. You may also be wondering if your pet's health situation can possibly affect your own -- such as whether or not pets can transmit the coronavirus to you.
Rest assured that we have the answers to your burning questions about pet health and the coronavirus. Read on for the reassuring information you need to know.
Can Pets Get Coronavirus?
First, can pets get coronavirus?
The answer is both yes and no. A number of animals, including dogs, cats, and ferrets, can get some sort of coronavirus. However, so far, it doesn't seem like they can get COVID-19.
COVID-19 is the specific type of coronavirus that's currently causing a global pandemic. The term "coronavirus" actually refers to a group of related viruses. These viruses tend to cause cold- and flu-like symptoms, such as fevers and coughs.
Some types of coronavirus are mild, while COVID-19 is more serious, at least in a percentage of people it affects. This type of coronavirus can develop into pneumonia, and is extremely contagious.
Coronaviruses are often transmitted between people. However, animals can also transmit some types of coronavirus to humans.
That said, it doesn't appear as though cats and dogs can transmit COVID-19 to each other or to humans. As far as we know, our pets don't face harm from this type of coronavirus, and can't pass it on to us.
With that in mind, there is still a lot that people don't know about this disease. Even if your pets can't contract it, there are other ways you'll want to make sure they're safe during this time.
Dog Safety During Quarantine
As a dog owner, how can you ensure dog safety while you're under quarantine and attempting to protect your family -- pets included?
To stay on the safe side, it's a good idea to limit contact between your dog and other dogs, or people. This also keeps you out of the path of potentially contagious humans.
So, you'll want to stop taking your dog to the dog park and other places where it has contact with unfamiliar dogs. On walks, leave at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people. Don't let your dog get too close to their dogs, either.
You can increase this healthy social distancing by walking your dog during periods when other people are less likely to be out, such as early in the morning or late at night. Try to choose less-popular paths and parks.
To keep yourself and your dog safer, remember to wash your hands often when interacting with your pet. You may also want to invest in some paw-cleaning wipes to wipe off your dog's feet after they've been outside. If you do test positive for COVID-19, it's best to minimize interactions with your dog, just in case.
Cat Safety During Quarantine
Keeping your dog safe from the coronavirus is fairly easy. Luckily, so is protecting your cat from risk.
If your cat usually goes outdoors, this is a good time to keep them inside for a while. Not only does this help keep your cat safe, but it also helps protect the humans in your home. There is a small chance that an infected person could transmit the coronavirus through a pet's fur.
Wash your hands before and after petting your cat, just like with your dog. If you do get sick with the coronavirus, consider keeping your cat in a separate room, and having someone else care for them while you stay in quarantine.
For the most part, best practices for cat and dog safety right now are the same. However, it's much more feasible to keep a cat indoors for a long time, so now is a good time to make your cat an indoor cat.
General Pet Safety Tips
There are also some pet safety tips that apply during this time, no matter what type of pet you have. Here are the top five safety tips to consider.
- Stock up on Food and Supplies
In some places, people are being asked to stay at home as much as possible. Before this happens in your area, you'll want to buy a few weeks' worth of spare pet medicine, food, and supplies, so you can stay safely at home. Keep in mind that shipping and delivery may get disrupted by the virus, so you can't always count on ordering what you need online.
- Make an Emergency Care Plan
If you're sick and your pet gets sick or injured, you'll need a backup care plan in place. Enlist a friend or family member who can take over and care for your pet if you're sick or in the hospital.
- Provide Plenty of Stimulation
Just like humans, pets can get bored during quarantine. This can lead to stress and related harmful behaviors. Give your dog and cat enough toys and attention to keep them occupied.
- Call Your Vet as Needed
Your vet's office may be closed. However, most vets still offer ways to reach them on the phone or online. Ask about telemedicine options, and call your vet if you're concerned about your pet at all.
- Remain Calm and Relaxed
Your dog or cat will pick up on your demeanor. If you're stressed, they will be too, which can lead to aggression and other risks of harm. Stay calm and provide a soothing environment to help your pet stay healthy.
Are You Prepared for Coronavirus Pet Health?
From food to toys, having the supplies you need for your pet will make cat and dog safety during the pandemic much easier.
Not having what you need will lead to additional stress and potential risk. You need to be prepared to stay home for your safety, and to be able to provide for your pet while you do so.
Don't have what you need yet? You can still place online orders for the time being, so don't delay. Check out the great deals in our clearance section now!