In the face of the pandemic, our pets are safe. Currently, there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected with, or spread, the coronavirus which is affecting people. Nonetheless, it is important to adopt good hygiene practices which is beneficial at any time, not just during the COVID-19 crisis. Animal welfare expert, Dr. Samantha Gaines advises washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after interacting with your pets and their items and avoid being kissed or licked and sharing food with them.
Dr. Gaines also said that social distancing shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your pets but it’s worth planning for what your pet needs should you be required to stay at home. “For example, you will need to make sure you have enough food and water for your pet, any bedding or substrate they need for their enclosure and if your pet requires regular medication, enough for the period you need to stay at home.” You should also think about who could help if your pet needed to get medical attention. “It is possible to get help from friends, family or items quickly delivered to your door but thinking about this now can help you be prepared.”
In the meantime, we should make the most out of the extra time we have with our pets. Isolating yourself for prolonged periods of time can cause loneliness, which might trigger symptoms of depression. But caring for an animal can make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone.