Please find below some answers on the current situation regarding the breakout of the coronavirus.
- Is there a vaccination against the COVID-19 coronavirus that my pet can receive?
- What preparations do I need to put in place for my pet if I need to self-isolate or if I am told to remain at home for a restricted period?
- What if I am ill and cannot take care of my pet?
- Can I walk my dog during the coronavirus outbreak?
- Should my pet wear a face mask?
- Can I still bring my dog to work?
Is there a vaccination against the COVID-19 coronavirus that my pet can receive?
Currently, there are no COVID-19 vaccines available for humans or animals¹. The World Health Organization estimates that a vaccine for humans could be available in 12-18 months.
What preparations do I need to put in place for my pet if I need to self-isolate or if I am told to remain at home for a restricted period?
Always refer first to your national regulations/recommendations regarding COVID-19 restrictions (self-isolation, restrictive period, home quarantine and lockdown).
In cases where for example people are told to stay at home or need to self-isolate, it is important to be prepared both in terms of caring for your family and your pet. For your pet this would mean that you have all the necessary things on hand to take care of your pet in the home environment:
- Food: at least 14 days’ supply of the normal food for your pet.
- Medicines: at least a 14-day supply of any prescribed medications which your pet requires
- Sanitation: pet litter and litter box for cats, poo bags for dogs
What if I am ill and cannot take care of my pet?
It is recommended that all pet owners put in place plans so that a friend or family member can help in case a pet owner becomes ill or must go to hospital. This may involve feeding your pet, taking them for a walk or caring for them in their own home until you fully recover. It is recommended that carers take all precautions if entering the home of an infected person, as the virus can survive on surfaces. If people do not have anyone to take care of their pets it is recommended that they contact their local animal welfare organisation/shelter to ask for their advice.
Can I walk my dog during the coronavirus outbreak?
The answer will depend on two things firstly what guidance/regulations your government has put in place regarding this point and secondly whether you can say yes to the following categories:
- you have no symptoms of COVID-19
- you don’t live with someone who’s showing symptoms or been diagnosed
- you don’t have any underlying conditions that would make you especially vulnerable
- you have not been instructed to self-isolate
If this is the case and your Government has not put in place any guidance or regulations regarding dog walking then yes you can go out with your dog (even in lockdown) as long as your walk is relatively short and kept within your own neighbourhood, however you should socially distance yourself, this means ensuring that you keep a safe distance from other people. It is also advised that you keep your dog on their lead where possible to minimise contact with other people/dogs. It is important for animals to get the daily exercise they need so if you are unable to walk your dog then your dog should be given regular access to the garden or an enclosed outside area. If they have to stay inside for long periods then they should be kept busy with enrichment for mental stimulation such as playing with toys or having chews/a Kong to play with during the day. Neighbours, friends, family, local shelters and community groups may also be able to assist with supporting people who cannot walk or take care of their pets during this time but all health and safety measures such as regular hand-washing and social distancing must be followed. In terms of cats, unless there are any government regulations/advice regarding letting cats outdoors, this should continue as normal.
Should my pet wear a face mask?
Masks made for pets may not be effective in preventing diseases transmitted by bodily fluid droplets². To protect your pet from respiratory diseases, vaccinate your pet for Bordetella, parainfluenza and canine influenza, which are the most common vaccine-preventable respiratory diseases in pets.
Can I still bring my dog to work?
Yes, if you are allowed to bring your dog into the office, but you must follow all current national health and safety measures. It is also recommended that you keep your dog with you and do not allow them to roam around the office.