21 Apr Tips for Healthy Pets During Self Isolation
These are uncertain times for everyone and not the least for your pets. If you’re a pet owner, then you know the worry of wondering if you can keep yourself, as well as your furry friend, safe and healthy. And it’s best that you get prepared now, while you can, just in case the situation changes in the future.
At this stage, vets are still considered an essential service in Australia. So, if your pet needs medical help, then your vet is probably still open. But things are changing fast, and no one knows what will happen in the future. So, here’s what you should do now to keep your pet happy and healthy while you’re both in self isolation.
Isolate with Exercise
At this stage, there’s no evidence that your pet is at risk of COVID-19, or that they help spread it. Evidence shows that it’s very rare for domestic animals to become infected and they usually don’t become sick when they are infected. And even more importantly, there’s no evidence that infected animals can pass the virus to people.
What this means is that you can isolate safely with your pet. Just make sure that you’re giving them plenty of exercise while you isolate together.
It’s a good idea to stockpile some essential supplies (within reason), just in case you need to isolate yourself. And this goes for pet supplies as well. Make sure you buy pet supplies that have a long shelf life, so you can use them as needed without concern. You also need to think about the types of supplies that you’re gathering. Some good supplies for pets include:
- Dry food
- Heartworm tablets
- Flea and tick solutions
Remember too that the huge surge in online shopping recently has slowed things down. So, if you’re buying food or other essentials online, then give the supplier a few more days to get them to you. And don’t rely on next day shipping for emergency pet supplies, because you don’t want your furry friend to go hungry.
Like most people, you’re probably disinfecting your home more than ever before. This can be a serious health hazard to your pet. Anything you spray into the air or onto surfaces may severely impact your pet’s health, so check labels before use.
You should be specifically careful when using any products that have names ending in -sol (Lysol, Pine Sol) These often contain phenol, a chemical that can cause liver damage in pets.
Get your Pets Vaccinated
It’s important that your pet stays up to date on their vaccinations. This will protect them from potentially dangerous health problems while you’re quarantined. Talk to your vet about the vaccinations they’ve had and need. And if they need a vaccination sometime in the future, ask your vet if this can be done early, just in case of further shutdowns or restrictions.
The last thing you want during a health crisis is for your pet to suddenly develop a severe dental problem. There would be nothing worse than seeing a pet suffering because of dental pain and not being able to get them to a vet to get it fixed. So, take your pet in for a dental check-up now and get any problems addressed while your vet is still operating.
Pet Backup Plans
If you do get sick with Covid-19, then you may struggle to look after your pet. That’s why it’s always best to have an emergency pet sitter ready to step in if necessary. Talk to a friend or family member who can care for your pet in case of emergency now, before you need them. And make sure they’re familiar with your pet or give them a brief bio so they know about any special needs your pet has.
Exercise and Entertainment
Quarantine is boring for everyone. But unlike you, your pet can’t spend hours watching movies or videos on YouTube. A bored pet is an unhealthy and sometimes destructive one, so have plenty of entertainment options on hand. Here are some suggestions:
- Take your pet for a walk every day (just stay away from everyone else doing the same).
- Add some pet toys to your online orders.
- Play catch (inside).
- Buy pet treats and teach your dog some tricks or hide them around your house for a pet treasure hunt.
- Use your time to train your pet.
Pets are turning out to be a huge comfort in this uncertain time. But that doesn’t mean you can just ignore them until you need a hug. Looking after your pet is more essential than ever. And doing this will give you a positive focus and pastime while you’re stuck indoors.
Author: Dr Sam Kovac BVSc.
Dr Sam followed his dream of becoming a veterinary surgeon that began at age three. Since that time, he has developed a strong interest in oncology, internal medicine and animal behaviour. Now a Chartered Member of the Australian Veterinary Association, Dr Sam continues his passion for providing the most up-to-date care to his patients and their two-legged family.