COVID-19 pet faqs

COVID-19 and pets FAQS | Veterinarian Q&A
Posted by fetch! blog editors on Apr 22 2020

You asked, our experts answered! 

We asked our members, “What are your pet parent concerns during COVID-19?”. Below our on-staff veterinarians and vet techs answer the most frequently asked questions.

How can I keep my pet safe during this COVID-19 pandemic?

Be prepared. Whether you adopted a pet during COVID-19 or have had a furry family member for years, we highly recommend a Pet Readiness Kit. What does that include? Identify another member of your household or a friend or neighbor who is willing and able to care for your pet in the event you become ill. Make sure to have enough supplies available to care for your pet’s needs for 30 days, including food, medications, toys, and any other essential items your pet may need. 

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Should I be doing anything to help my pet adjust to my family being home all day? 

Coronavirus has interrupted all our daily lives and pets are no exception! While most of us are social distancing and temporarily teleworking we have to be reminded to entertain our pets and keep them quiet at times. 

What should I do with my pet if I, or someone in my household, contracts COVID-19? 

The current CDC recommendation is to avoid contact with animals if you are sick with COVID-19. If sick, it would be advisable to limit your contact with your pet. This is where your Pet Readiness Kit comes into play. Have another member of your household, or a friend or neighbor, who is willing and able to care for your pet do so. Make sure to have enough supplies available to care for your pet’s needs for 30 days, including food, medications, toys, and any other essential items your pet may need. 

Alternatively, boarding facilities are an option. Petplan policies offer a no-copay, no deductible boarding benefit which provides up to $1,000 in reimbursement if the insured pet needs to be boarded while the policyholder is hospitalized for more than 4 days to treat an illness, including COVID-19. 

Should my pets avoid contact with humans that may have COVID-19? 

The current CDC recommendations say that if someone is sick with COVID-19, that person should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like they would around other people. 

When I walk my dog should we practice social distancing? Is it safe to let other people pet my dog? 

We are all questioning the things we normally do in regards to the coronavirus. As recommended by experts at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organization), social distancing is extremely important right now. For the health and safety of you and those around you, the best practice is to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary social interactions, including allowing people to approach you and your pets. 

According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) “Because your pet’s hair is porous and also fibrous, it is very unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 by petting or playing with your pet. However, because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; and regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys.”

Is it safe for my pets to interact with other pets? Is it safe to let my dog play with other dogs? 

It is important to remember that social distancing is imperative to decrease the spread of COVID-19. If your pet interacts with another pet, make sure the established social distancing guidelines are being strictly followed. At this time, dogs interacting with other dogs is not prohibited, but it is also advisable to check with your local authorities for their recommendation on social distancing protocols and pet interactions. 

If a tiger can contract COVID-19 does that mean house cats can? 

There have only been two reports of two separate house cats in New York state confirmed to have COVID-19, so it is possible, infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, The situation is evolving and veterinarians and the experts at the CDC are closely monitoring all new developments. 

I’ve heard reports that cats can catch COVID-19 but dogs cannot. Is that true? Why? 

While some common respiratory infections in dogs and cats can affect both species, and this may leave us wondering what the risk is for pets at home, there have been no confirmed cases of a dog becoming ill with COVID-19 according to the CDC. 

Can pets catch or spread COVID-19? 

With all the worry about COVID-19, it’s natural for pet owners to be concerned about their furry family members. While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong and two cats in New York, to date, very few animals worldwide have tested positive.

If a pet was to contract COVID-19 what would be the symptoms? 

In the New York cases announced recently, a veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs.

We strongly encourage you to reach out to your veterinarian for guidance if you ever have concerns about your pet’s wellbeing or notice any changes to their health (including changes to their breathing or other vital signs, appetite or energy levels). It is preferable to have your vet examined in person, but we understand the special circumstances surrounding this unprecedented situation. Petplan policies also offer up to $1,000 in reimbursement for Telehealth fees with no co-pays or deductible for these services.

How do we prepare to help our dog adjust to us not being home when things return to normal? 

One of the best things you can do is to keep your pet on their normal schedule as much as possible to avoid any hiccups when your schedule returns to its usual pattern. Keeping meals, walks, and playtime on their normal schedule will help everyone in the home have a smooth transition back.

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