Over the last few months, we’ve been inundated with information about how to keep ourselves safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but what about our beloved animal companions?  Now that we’re in the midst of a second wave, it’s important to take precautions to keep both you and your pet safe if you haven’t already been doing so.  With so much still unknown about COVID-19, we recommend following these guidelines to provide you and your pet with a little peace of mind during these trying times.

As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times together, keep in mind the following safety precautions when it comes to keeping your pet safe and healthy.

Maintain physical distancing

Animals need exercise, especially dogs!  When it comes to taking your four-legged friend for their daily walks, be sure to maintain the recommended 6 feet distance from others.  You may want to use your dog’s lead as a way to ensure you’re keeping the correct distance, provided it’s at least 6 feet long.  Try to avoid places that are crowded, and if you plan on visiting an off-leash dog park, we recommend visiting during off-peak hours to minimize close interaction with others.  If possible, you can also socialize your dog with other dogs from your social circle by planning playdates. 

If you own a cat, we recommend keeping your cat indoors as much as possible at this time.   

Keep your pets away if you fall ill

While it’s unlikely that you’d transmit the virus to your pet, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.  Currently, there have been a few reports of human-to-animal transmission so for that reason, we recommend erring on the side of caution. There’s no need to be paranoid about your pet spreading the virus, but keep the following in mind if you do get sick.

If you become sick, try and keep as much distance from your pet as possible.  We know it’s hard, but it’s in their interest!  If other people reside in your household, have them take care of your pet while you recover from your illness.  If this isn’t possible, limit your interaction with your pet as much as possible, and refrain from letting them lick you, especially on your face and hands.  We also suggest wearing a mask whenever you come into close contact to care for your pet.  If your pet requires daily exercise, such as a dog, coordinate someone who can take over this responsibility for the time being, or consider hiring a dog walker temporarily. 

As we’re currently already experiencing the second-wave and as the flu season is upon us, we recommend planning for this scenario in advance by allocating an emergency caregiver for your pet.  This way, you can focus on your recovery instead of scrambling to find someone to care for your animal. 

Practice good hygiene

Just like you’re probably already doing for yourself, continue to practice good hygiene when caring for your pet.  The Government of Canada recommends washing your hands often, especially before and after touching your pet, their food and supplies; avoiding coughing and sneezing around your pet; and avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.  If you use sanitizing products in your household, ensure that the room is well-ventilated so your pet doesn’t become irritated by potentially harmful toxins, and keep any toxic materials out of reach.

While evidence of animals contracting COVID-19 from humans is limited, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take the extra precautions to ensure the safety of our beloved pets.

Are you planning a big move with a pet?  As travel restrictions continue to change on an ongoing basis, be sure to stay informed with the latest updates on our website.