Throughout the months of the ongoing pandemic, most people were conscious about the health protocols that needed to be followed and how they were going to endure the self-isolation needed to avoid the risk of viral infection. Perhaps another important concern that needs to be raised is how pet owners can better care for their furry friends during these extraordinary times.
Healthy Owner, Healthy Pet
The first step to caring for pets is to make sure the pet owner is safe and healthy. It is important for the owner to get some sunshine, a very important outdoor activity to maintain one’s health. Staying outdoors to get some sun for about 20 minutes a day is ideal. To make it more interesting and productive, consider setting up a mini-greenhouse equipped with solar roof panels that can be used to power up some household appliances. You can undertake this project while the dogs enjoy the grass and run around the yard for their playtime.
A pet owner also has to strictly follow sanitation standards by frequently washing hands, wearing a face mask in public, and observing physical distancing. A healthy owner is key to keeping healthy pets during this difficult period in public health. If the owner is ill, who else would take care of the pets? A tough challenge is to isolate one’s self from pets if symptoms of COVID-19 or any other illness are already present.
Pets Don’t Transmit COVID-19
An important details that every one should know is that caring for pets and other animals is still very relatively safe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no evidence that cats or dogs can contract or pass on the novel coronavirus. However, it is important to understand that zoonotic diseases do exist. These are diseases that can be transmitted by vertebrate animals to humans. These types of diseases include the Avian flu and the Ebola virus disease. So, care and attention are still needed in handling animals especially now that scientists are convinced that viruses continue to mutate and could change the way they infect animals and people.
Good Old Hide-and-seek, Fetch, and Street Walks
Like people, pets also need plenty of exercise to stay healthy. Indoors, play hide-and-seek to exercise your dog’s brains and legs. It would surely enjoy looking for its “Hooman” using its keen sense of smell around the rooms, corners, and stairwells of your home. If you have a front or backyard, throw some spongy ball and have the dog run after it. The old school pet play of fetch is still effective in giving them good cardio while strengthening their four legs with each relay. While cats may be more sedentary than the average dog, they also enjoy some wrestling time with a ball of yarn and would also run after a ball rolling across the grass.
When properly leashed, going out for a walk is still a must. Just wear a mask and make sure to maintain a proper physical distance from other people and their pets. Like humans, animals don’t do well when they are kept inside the house for a very long time. They also need to move out and about to see a new place or visit the usual park where they can run and bark to their heart’s content. They may try to escape the leash or outrun the owner just to play with other pets in the park. Make sure they are securely latched onto their collars since pets need physical distancing, too.
Telemedicine for Pets
If a pet shows any kind of symptom or sign of being sick, don’t hesitate to call your local veterinarian. The best initial option is to schedule a tele-consultation that it is faster, more convenient for you and your pet while reducing contact time outside your home. The telemedicine option is a viable option especially if the vet clinic is a bit far from your home and if quarantine rules in your city or state remain strict. In some areas, veterinarians can come to your home and do a check-up on the pet since they have personal protection equipment or PPE ready to use for such visits. They can also be requested to do a curbside visit and just drop off medicines and other supplies needed by your pet after making a diagnosis via the tele-consultation.
These are easy and practical ways to care for pets during these unusual times when both human and animals need extra attention to stay healthy. Pets make our lives so much happier, so they also deserve the time and focus that owners need to give each and every day. Indeed, the quarantine is also a blessing of sorts since it has given both owners and pets the quality time they need to enjoy each other’s company.