First off, if you have not been told to self-isolate and do not have the symptoms of the virus, then you are fine to take your fluffy charges for trots as usual.
This is provided you are out in the open air and are not stopping for a pitstop at your local boozer.
‘If you haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate then continue to interact with your pets as normal, but adopt good hygiene practices including washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching them, their food, toys and bedding. This is good advice at any time and not specific to the coronavirus situation,’ is the take of animal welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines, who works for the RSPCA.
Plus, know that household animals don’t appear to carry the disease. According to Gaines, there is ‘no evidence to suggest that pets can be carriers of Coronavirus or can become ill from it themselves.’
But, if you or a member of your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, then, your pets will be impacted. If you have been told that you should not be leaving the house whatsoever, then you cannot take your dog for a walk, yourself.
‘If possible, arrange for another person to care for your pet (you could consider using a dog walker or home boarder),’ advises Gaines. ‘If it’s not possible for you to arrange for someone else to take your dog out, there are ways to keep them happy and healthy.
‘If you have any concerns about your pet or your pet shows signs of ill health, please do not visit the vet but phone for advice. As you will be unable to take your pet to the vet yourself, have a plan so that someone else can do this on your behalf.’
What do I do about my dog if I am showing symptoms of COVID-19?
If you have symptoms – or have been tested positive for Covid-19 – then the current advice from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association is straightforward: ‘You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with Covid just like you would around other people.
‘Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with Covid, it is still recommended that people sick with Covid limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick.
‘If you are sick with Covid avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face-mask.’
If you are having to make-do and try to keep your pupper healthy while you can’t leave your property, try these expert tips, from Gaines, on how to do so.
If you have any concerns about your pet or your pet shows signs of ill health, please do not visit the vet but phone for advice.
RSPCA-approved ways to keep dogs happy without walks
● Play, play, play. Most dogs love to play so set aside some time to have a good game of fetch or tug with your pooch, if you have a garden.
● Learning a new trick or command is great mental stimulation for a dog. Get out their favourite treats and try teaching them how to wave their paw, ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, or ‘roll-over’.
● Get them sniffing. Scent work can be a great way to keep them busy for ages. Hide treats around the garden or around the house and send them off in search of them. If you feed your dog kibble this can be a great way to serve them their meals.
● Remember toilet breaks. Your dog will still need to go outside to use the toilet so make sure they get regular access to outside space to
● Spotify has recently launched My Dog’s Favourite Podcast which has a range of carefully selected spoken word, sound and original music designed to encourage relaxation.