As the world continues to react to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, people are rushing to the shops to stock up on necessary goods out of fear of being forced into self-isolation. Items such as toilet paper and tissues are running dry and pasta and rice are continuously disappearing from supermarket shelves.
But now, veterinarian Dr Claire Stevens has urged people not to forget about their pets during this difficult time, and consider the items they would require should a lockdown occur.
Currently, anyone who arrives from overseas, or who has been in contact with a known case of Covid-19, is being told to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. While those who have presented symptoms of the virus and are awaiting results from a test must also self-isolate. So what does self-isolation mean for your furry friends, and how do you prepare for it if you have animals at home?
Stevens says that, just like yourself, you’ll need enough food and other goods to last 14 days of self-isolation for your pet. While it’s also wise to check vaccinations and visit the vet if needed for updates.
“Make sure you have enough food, kitty litter for cats and medicine,” she says. “If your pet is soon due to have its annual vaccinations, check with your vet to see if they can have them done early. It’s also a good idea to check if they intend on closing and if so, are they offering an emergency service.”
Currently, there has only been one case of a pet dog testing positive to Covid-19. The pooch, located in Hong Kong, received a “weak positive” and was placed in quarantine. The pet was returned home to its owner, who was also found to have the virus, however the 17-year-old Pomeranian sadly died earlier this week according to the South China Morning Post.
The news of this particular case has led to conversations among veterinarians internationally about the best practices in dealing with panicked pet owners who are surrendering their animals, or even asking for them to be euthanised for fear they have contracted the virus from their pet.
Stevens has urged pet-owners not to fret and said you should simply practice necessary precautionary measures for your own and your pet’s safety. This includes washing your hands regularly after contact with people and pets, avoiding touching your face and using hand sanitiser.
She also said it’s wise to hand your pet over to a trusted family member or friend to take care of if you have received a positive Covid-19 result, just to be safe.
“At the very least, ensure you don’t share food with them (not even scraps from dinner), kiss them, share dishes or take them for walks while you are unwell,” Stevens explained.