September 17th 2020

Advice for Pet Owners During the Coronavirus

It goes without saying that we are living in unprecedented times. Across the world, the last few months have been challenging and, at times, scary. 

In our latest blog post, we share official government guidance on looking after your pets during these difficult times. 

As a pet owner there are certain responsibilities that come with owning a pet. These responsibilities can establish a bond between yourself and your pet, foster a sense of achievement and can be very rewarding. 

In line with government guidance, pet owners have additional responsibilities during these challenging times to ensure the wellbeing of themselves and their pets. 

Firstly, it is important to stress that, as per government information, it is very rare for animals to contract COVID-19. If they do, they usually recover in a few days. 

Likewise, the government advises that animals do not need to be washed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, it is worth noting that you should wash your hands before and after handling animals and their food.

Travel Advice

If you intend to travel, it is recommended that you make arrangements for your return and the subsequent 14-day quarantine period. This may be, for dog owners, arranging with friends or family to walk your dog and, for all pets, may entail stocking up on food and other essentials such as cat little or medicines. 

Vet Treatment

If your animal requires veterinary treatment, it is best to contact your practice who have their own guidelines and procedures in place to assist you. 

Advice for Dog Owners

The government has published specific advice for dog owners. If you are a dog owner and you experience the following, you must self-isolate:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19, however mild
  • Test positive for the coronavirus
  • Have been abroad and told to quarantine on your return

It is advised that if self-isolating and your dog cannot exercise at home, you ask someone outside of your household or support bubble to walk your dog for you.

If you are not self-isolating you may leave your house to walk your dog. You should stay two-metres apart from anyone outside of your household or support bubble, or one-metre with risk mitigation (such as wearing a face covering) where two metres is not viable. 

When walking your dog in areas used by other people, you should consider keeping your dog on a lead to ensure you can stay two metres away from others.

You should wash your hands before and after handling your dog. 

If you are walking a dog on behalf of someone who is not able to, you should wash your hands before and after handling the dog and keep two metres away from other people and animals; including when handing the dog back to the owner. 

Advice for Cat Owners

You should:

  • Wash your hands before and after any contact with your cat, its food and bedding
  • Avoid close contact (such as kissing or cuddling) if you are self-isolating
  • Not share food with your pet

The VCMS would like to thank both the general public and veterinary professionals for their cooperation and understanding during these difficult times.

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