As news about the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, worried pet owners are starting to ask if pets can catch this virus. And how to protect them.
There is no evidence that companion animals play a role in the spread of COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirms that the current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. There is currently no evidence that dogs, horses and farm animals can spread the disease to humans or each other. There is limited evidence that cats can become sick with COVID-19, but importantly no researchers believe that cats represent a source of human infection.
What is a coronavirus?
Before COVID-19, most people had not heard of a coronavirus. However, this family of viruses have been around for a long time, mostly causing mild cold-like signs in humans. Animal coronaviruses also exist; however, they are different from COVID-19, mainly causing mild diarrhoea in dogs and feline infectious peritonitis in cats. These are dog or cat specific versions of coronavirus and pose no risk to humans as they cannot be transmitted to people.
Social distancing applies to dogs, too!
As part of your family unit, social distancing rules should also apply to your dog. Your dog should not be allowed to interact with other dogs or humans at this time, so avoid dog parks. Current advice is walk dogs on a lead and as always, to wash your hands with soap and water when returning from walks. If you can, leave dog leads at your front door.
The Human-Animal Bond
As pet owners, we are lucky. The human-animal bond we share with our companion animals can provide much-needed comfort and companionship in difficult times. Studies have shown owners to have lower cortisol levels, lower heart rates and lower blood pressures when interacting with their pets. Pets also provide a range of emotional benefits, from loyal companionship to comfort, security, and unconditional love.
The VitaPet stock situation
Thankfully we haven't had too much of an issue with the availability of VitaPet products. And most supermarkets and many pet specialty stores remain open; alternatively, like many essential supplies, there are options for online shopping and delivery of VitaPet products to your door.
Pets around the country are providing much-needed companionship while we stay home. With many of our usual activities restricted or modified, use this time to enjoy the companionship and bond with your pet.
Stay safe and enjoy this time with your pets.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) advises there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare. Enjoy them, love them and cuddle them, as we’re all in this together.
Please note that advice provided is reflective of the evidence at hand. For the most up-to-date advice for Australia, visit www.health.gov.au, and visit www.health.govt.nz in NZ. And as always call your veterinarian if you are concerned for your pet's health.