Over the last several weeks, Covid 19, a new coronavirus that has spread rapidly across the globe, has begun to affect our region. As businesses, schools and community events close down or limit capacity to prevent the spread of the virus, social distancing has become a priority for the health and safety of all residents in our area.
Caring for a dog during social distancing shouldn’t be too difficult, but it will mean making changes to your lifestyle and routine, and requiring that you make changes to the way you shop for supplies and seek veterinary care. Social distancing is an effective strategy when adhered to properly, and it includes the following lifestyle adjustments:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Avoid crowds, groups or gatherings
- Minimize errands or shopping in stores
- Avoid restaurants and public spaces
- Work from home when possible
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet away from others when in public
Spending more time at home will likely be cause for celebration for any of your pets, and for your dogs especially. This is a perfect time to cozy up and enjoy the companionship and unconditional love that your dog provides. It’s important to still get outside and give your dog the exercise he needs, and it’s safe to do so, as long as you maintain a distance of 6 feet between you and other pets and owners. Avoid crowded spaces with your pup, and stay away from dog parks.
Since you’ll be limiting your time spent in stores or running errands, we recommend stocking up on supplies while you can. Order dog food, dog toys or flea and tick medications to be delivered, or pick them up in one trip. You’ll also want to access veterinary care on an as-needed basis. It’s important to call your veterinarian to ask what their policy is regarding bringing pets in for non-emergency visits. Many vets may be able to provide tele-health services for pets who need an annual check up or for pet owners who have questions about how best to manage their pets care while in social isolation.
So far, there is no research showing that pets can contract the virus from you, should you become ill. If you do become ill, it is important that you avoid petting and touching your dog while your dog is in contact with other members of your home or dog walkers and neighbors who might be assisting in their care. Contact your doctor and your dog’s veterinarian for advice on how to proceed if you begin to show any signs or symptoms of illness.
Most of all, take advantage of this time to hunker down with the four-legged ones you love, and give your dogs extra attention, play and love. It’ll help to boost both of your moods and improve your immunity while you’re at it.