The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus a global pandemic. As the panic around this virus grows, many pet owners are worried about the health of their companion animals. It’s important to take proper precautions to keep our pets safe during this trying time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s currently no evidence that shows dogs can spread COVID-19. However, there is a lot more to it than just that.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, one of which is the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Some of these viruses cause illness in people, while others can cause illness in certain types of animals, including dogs and cats.
There is no reason to panic about your dog’s safety during this coronavirus epidemic. The CDC has stated that there is no evidence that any dog in the United States has contracted COVID-19 or is capable of spreading the disease. With that being said, there are a number of things that you can do to prepare and keep your dog safe during this time.
6 Tips to Keep Dogs Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic
I do NOT recommend hoarding, but be sure that you have enough dog food and necessary pet supplies for at least 2 weeks. I would suggest keeping an extra bag of dog food in a container, or case of dog food cans on hand. If you can’t get to the store (due to lockdown) or your local store needs to close, at least your pooch will have enough pet food to get by until you can order more.
You should also stock up on any necessary dog supplies that your pet may need. For example, if the dog needs certain medications, ask your veterinarian to increase the prescription for the time being. If your dog requires pee pads, training treats, vitamin supplements and so forth, keep an extra package in the cupboard just in case.
2. Provide the Dog with Entertainment During Quarantine
Your dog doesn’t understand coronavirus and what’s going on. You’re home from work, kids are home from school, and everyone seems to be anxious for no reason. Everything is different for your pooch, too, and he doesn’t know why.
The dog might be anxious and nervous if you are anxious and nervous. Dogs feed off of our emotions. Therefore, try to stay as calm as possible around your pooch, and spend some extra time with your dog playing or training him. Provide plenty of indoor entertainment while you’re all stuck in quarantine.
If you’re working from home, play with your pet for at least 30 minutes before you need to begin working. When you take a break, play with your dog again. If you get time off for lunch, spend it with your pet. Provide bones, chews and long-lasting dog toys to entertain your pet while you’re working.
I recommend puzzle toys because they are an excellent tool to keep dogs mentally stimulated for longer while you’re occupied with work. If you don’t provide enough entertainment, your dog will pester you while you’re trying to do your job. You will be able to work more peacefully as long as you give your pooch the exercise (mentally and physically) that he needs.
3. Designate an Emergency Caregiver for Your Pet
All pet owners need to be prepared for emergencies. In the event that you become ill with coronavirus, or you get quarantined, or need to tend to a sick friend/family member, designate an emergency caregiver for your pet(s).
This is something that you should always have in place for your dog’s safety, not just now but always. The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only emergency that will affect you and your dog, now or in the future.
The emergency caregiver that you choose should be someone that knows your dog and someone that your dog is comfortable with. If that isn’t an option, choose someone that you know will take care of your pet and be responsible for him when you are not able to. This could be a friend, family member or even a dog walker that you trust.
The caregiver should be given all necessary information to provide the appropriate care for your dog. They will need to know your dog’s feeding schedule, any required medications, your veterinarian’s contact information and so on. Have all of this information written down, just in case the caregiver needs to reference it.
4. Consider Your Dog’s Bathroom Needs
During the quarantine period of the COVID-19 pandemic, your dog may need to change his bathroom schedule. If you live in a rural area, this probably won’t be an issue. However, if your city or residential area is on lockdown, you may not be able to take your pet outside to use the bathroom.
For this, I recommend all pet owners stock up on pee pads and/or indoor litter boxes for dogs. If your pooch isn’t used to going to the bathroom on a piece of cloth, a pad may be more tempting than a traditional cloth pee pad. Some dog training pads also use pheromones to entice dogs to urinate on them.
5. Prepare for the Possibility of Relocation
This is definitely a worst case scenario tip. However, it’s always better to be prepared.
If your dog needs to go stay with another caregiver in case you contract coronavirus, or if you need to go stay with a friend/family member to care for them while they are sick, your pet will have to travel.
Make sure that the dog is ready for that. He needs to have proper identification on his collar. Have a travel crate and any necessary pet supplies packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice until the quarantine measures are lifted. If your dog is prepared for the possibility of relocation, it will be one less thing you need to worry about, and for the dog to be anxious about.
6. Be Cautious of Cleaning Products
With the coronavirus pandemic spreading rapidly, we’re being told to sanitize and disinfect as many surfaces in our homes as possible. It’s a sure way to kill any germs on these surfaces, but these chemical products that we use to clean may be harmful to dogs.
For example, if you’re cleaning your floors with a bleach solution, the cleaner can get on your dog’s paws as he walks across the floor. If your dog plays with toys on the floor, it can get on those too. When your pet licks his paws or chews his toys, the toxins from the cleaner will be ingested, potentially causing a health problem and a trip to the vet.
Use pet-friendly cleaners whenever possible. If you need to use bleach-based cleaning solutions, make sure the floor or surface is completely dry before your pet walks on it. Try to keep your dog from playing on these areas, too.