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The world has changed. Pet care has to change too.

An expert shares her tips and suggestions on pet care during the pandemic

pet care, veterinarians, dogs, cats, pets

There is this joke going around about owners walking their dogs and the dogs saying, ‘please not again.’ The world has definitely changed.

We know that as a family member, your pet is a top priority and your concerned about protecting your furry friend’s health. But the question is how should pet care change in your household during this current pandemic?

First, we suggest that you practice appropriate personal hygiene. It is best if you wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds both before and after petting, feeding, and cleaning up after your pet.

Second, make a conscious effort to think about your pet’s environment and consider how making some changes to the environment may improve his or her overall wellbeing and reduce anxiety.

5 ways to provide safe opportunities for your dog or cat to exercise

Take your dog for walks to improve his or her health and well-being, as well as your own. Be sure, however, to observe proper social distancing, wear masks, and avoid both crowds of people and dog parks.

Avoid contact with others. If you are out in public, do not allow other people to pet your dog.

Use treat dispensers or treat balls like the JW Hol-ee Treat Ball for your dog, or the PetSafe Egg-cercizer Treat Dispener for your cat. These toys help mentally stimulate pets.

Use pet toys that promote movement. Jackson Galaxy has a line of cat toys like feather wands and interactive toys that help encourage exercise in our feline friends.

Visit the Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s website for phenomenal information on enriching our pets’ lives.

What do you do if your pet is experiencing health issues?

Most veterinary practices in our area remain open, although a few may have reduced hours. That said, please be aware that some veterinarians may be delaying non-urgent visits and procedures. Regardless, if you have questions or concerns, call your veterinarian. Given the individual circumstances, they can advise you as to whether an in-person appointment or potentially a telemedicine consultation would be best.

The visit may take time. Be patient.

Please be patient with the staff at your veterinary hospital. Most hospitals are performing curbside appointments. This means that pets are being escorted into the hospital while the pet parents remain in their car. After the veterinarian examines your pet, he or she will speak with you over the phone regarding a plan for diagnostics, treatments, and can provide you with an estimate. As always, your pet will be treated with the utmost respect and kindness while in the hospital. We all understand that these new protocols can be difficult and stressful, but we appreciate everyone’s patience.

We are doing our best to care for your fur babies, while assuring your safety as well as our own, so that we can continue to be present during your time of need.

Should my pet be tested for Covid-19?

Currently, the American Veterinary Medication Association (AVMA), USDA, CDC, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) do not recommend routine testing of animals for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Should your pet show symptoms of a respiratory or gastrointestinal illness, veterinarians are urged to test for and rule out the common issues that can arise in companion animals first. However, testing pets for SARS-CoV-2 is recommended if the pet has symptoms consistent with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, other issues have been ruled out, and the pet has had close contact with a person who was positive for COVID-19.

What should we do if I or someone in our family tests positive for Covid-19?

If you or a member of your family becomes ill with the virus, your pet will still need care. Identify an individual in your home who is able to care for your pet(s) while you are in quarantine and away from all people and pets in the home.

It is great if you can prepare an emergency kit for your pet with at least two weeks of your pet’s food and medication.

In the event that your pet requires veterinary attention, make sure there is someone who is healthy who can bring your animal to your veterinarian.

If you are the pet’s care giver and have tested positive, wear a cloth face covering when you are around the pet, avoid hugging, kissing, and sharing food with your pet, and wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching your fur baby

Keep your normally indoor/outdoor cat inside for the time being.

The fun, comfort, companionship and love you and your family share with your pet are like no other. Help keep your fur baby healthy and happy by following safe health practices.

Alisha Selzner, DVM, is with Companion Pet Hospital , with offices in Fishkill and Carmel.

The veterinary team at Companion Pet Hospital are more than animal care providers, they are pet owners, too! They love animals, whether they are theirs or yours, and they are dedicated to providing exceptional veterinary care that is compassionate and kind. Their veterinary team in Fishkill and Carmel makes it their priority to ensure that animals are comfortable during their visits by offering tender treatment and a relaxing atmosphere. Their goal is to banish the negative connotations associated with veterinary visits and make your pet’s time with them as positive as possible.