Pet Tips     Home     Hot Topics     Home and Family    

What are the rules for pet care and COVID-19

Caring for your pet during the pandemic. Advice from Dr. Alex of Earth Angels.

dogs and cats during covid-19

As we battle these unusual pandemic times, we find ourselves spending more time at home. Many of us have taken the plunge and adopted a pet, joining the growing population of pet owners.

These crazy times are actually benefiting the human-animal bond, allowing pets and their human companions to take advantage of all the pet related activities that they we now have more time for. To their delight, dogs, cats and birds have us doting on them like never before. 

People ask about their pet care concerns. As a veterinarian, I get asked by clients as well as friends and neighbors about how to best take care of their new companions during these stressful times. Are they sensing our stress and worry? Should I worry about them getting COVID-19 viral infections? Should we see our veterinarian, or wait to update vaccines and prepare for the coming tick/flea/heartworm season? Is it safe to allow my children to pet dogs and cats?

These are all valid and important questions that need to be dealt with as a responsible pet owner. Pets can be a great source of stress relief, as well as a great source of stress. The best way to deal with all the challenges that our fur and feathered family members bring parallels one of the best ways we deal with our new way of life under this pandemic. 

Create a schedule and follow it. Keep in mind that we will return to normalcy at some point, and our pet companions will be left at home. There will be less time spent with them as family members return to more normal activity outside the home. In order to lessen the stress this change will cause on your pet's psyche, create a schedule for their walks, feedings and play times. These should be timed to mimic what you believe life will be like once you and your family members return to the workforce, school, etc.

Minimize separation anxiety. This is a real issue that many pets face when they feel they are left behind. The last thing you’ll want to deal with when starting a more rigorous schedule is having your beloved pet companion freak out and manifest destructive behaviors onto themselves and your home while you are gone. Separation anxiety is a real condition, and pets suffering from it may even end up requiring medication.

Schedule the basics. Following a schedule does not mean that you cannot add extra time shared with your pet during your stay at home. It means that the basics, like feeding time, walking time, and sleeping time, need to happen on a scheduled, daily basis so your pet can trust you being gone without feeling a threat to their basic needs. Discussing these and the many other issues that pet ownership brings should be done with your veterinarian. Finding and creating a good relationship with one is important. Find someone that goes beyond basic vaccine and medication care and able to answer behavior questions to your satisfaction. 

Consult your pet’s veterinarian. Creating a good relationship with a veterinarian is important as we face unprecedented times. The recommendation by the American Veterinary Medical Association at his time is to have your pet follow social distancing just like you are. Although having your pet wear a mask is not possible, keeping them 6 feet away from other people and pets is recommended.

Pets may carry the virus. Although pets do not succumb to the disease like people do, they may carry the virus in their nasal passages/throats which can go from one person to another. The length of time and amount the COVID-19 virus survives in them is not known yet. The incidence seems to be low, but not impossible. Until we know more, it is important to be cautious and keep pets away from people that may be infected. If the pet lives with an infected person, the pet should be tested by your Vet just like people are tested by their doctors to make sure they are safe to rejoin society. Therefore, avoid having you and your children pet and be licked by pets other than your own. If someone in your home is COVID-19-positive, quarantine restrictions should apply to your pet just like they apply to you. Stay away and get tested.

Consider curbside care. Veterinary hospitals are considered essential operations during this pandemic. Keeping up with vaccines, flea, tick and heart worm control, and getting immediate attention for a sick pet is recommended. Be prepared for curbside service, and to hand over your pet to a well-protected and qualified technician without going into the building yourself. Bring your cellphone and most importantly, let the medical professionals know if your pet was in contact with anyone had had the virus. Avoiding tick borne diseases, rabies, and flea infestations are part of the reasons why a visit to your veterinarian is important during these crazy times. 

Follow these simple directions and stay safe.

Dr. Alex, with her practice partner Robert Codacovi, own Earth Angels Veterinary Hospital, 44 Saint Nicholas Road, Wappingers Falls NY 12590 845/ 227-P-A-W-S (7297)

More Pet Tips

  • Keep pets' health top-of-mind this back-to-school season

    Make sure everyone is happy

    With kids back in school, many families experience a dramatic shift in their daily routines, and, for some pets, this sudden change in routine can impact their overall well-being. read more »
  • Vet-approved tips to help keep pets safe this summer

    Extreme temperatures and sounds can have big impacts on pets

    With record-breaking heat across much of the nation, the experts at Freshpet are helping pet parents with these tips to help keep their pets healthy and safe this summer. read more »
  • 5 tips for keeping pets pest-free

    Parasites can wreak havoc on your pet’s health

    Naturally curious, many pets sniff and explore other animals and objects, unaware they may expose themselves to potentially harmful parasites and conditions. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, 1 in 100 dogs tested positive for heartworm in 2022, and more than 1 in 4 indoor cats were positive for heartworm infection. read more »
  • 5 ways to treat your furry friends

    Celebrate National Pet Month with your pet’s favorite toys, treats and activities

    May is National Pet Month, making it a “purr-fect” time for families to spoil their furry family members. Americans are no strangers to spending money on their pets, though. read more »
  • 3 steps to help pets achieve and maintain a healthy weight

    Weight gain can lead to health problems

    Pet parents often show love for their pets with food. However, that extra “love” can lead to weight gain, which can increase the risk of developing other medical conditions. read more »
  • Spring checklist for pets

    6 ways to keep your pets happy and healthy

    Warmer weather means it’s time to spring clean, get grooming and prepare your pets’ diets to support them through the season. Keep your furry friends happy and healthy this spring with these six tips from the experts at Zesty Paw. read more »
  • Keeping pets safe in the garden

    Hazards that can impact the well-being of your furry friends

    If you have pets that enjoy spending time outdoors, it’s important to make sure your yard is a safe place for them to be. read more »
  • Join the Goat Games 2021

    Farmed Animal Sanctuaries Across the Nation Unite to Raise Funds and Awareness

    Co-hosted by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, The Goat Games will rally the support of animal welfare champions across the U.S. read more »
  • Fun Winter Project for The Birds!

    Give the birds a little treat in this chilly season

    With the snow coming down it is always fun to do a little craft. We love all of the birds our region is home to and we figured why not make them a little treat*? And so, our search for how to make popcorn balls for birds began. read more »
  • Keep pets cozy in the cold

    Follow these cold-weather tips for your furry friends

    Expert advice from Full Circle Veterinary Hospital on keeping pets safe when it's cold out. read more »