How to Take Care of Your Dog after a Walk During the Pandemic

During this time, we pay attention to stricter sanitary measures. As we come home, we took off our clothes and shoes and wash our hands. If a dog comes with us, we shouldn’t forget about it as well. It may happen the dog brings the virus to our home. How to take care car of your dog properly during the pandemic? 

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses which are common in animals. Under certain circumstances, also people can get infected by them as it happened with SARS or MERS. With regard to COVID-19 infection, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) do not consider pets to be carriers. The scientists have noticed an extremely low number of cases when a pet got infected from a person.

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Even though the experience so far suggests that we won’t get infected from a dog as well as the dog won’t get infected from us, we need to be careful. Dogs and other animals might get infected indirectly. Coronavirus stays alive on various surfaces for a couple of hours or even days. With regard to animal hair, this time is rather shorter because the virus doesn’t like higher temperature and the related fast drying of the contaminated hair.

This is also the reason why we shouldn’t touch unfamiliar animals – may it be petting a dog or a horse. We don’t know if their hair could get into contact with the virus from the environment or if an infected person didn’t touch them. “After contact with an animal, recommended sanitary measures need to be followed – not touching your face and food and thoroughly washing your hands with soap” says Veronika Lesiuková, a vet.

Virus may also stick to the paws, so it can easily transfer to you when cuddling. As such infection is a certain risk, you have to take care about your pet when you get home, as you obviously can’t take its shoes or hair off. Especially, if our four-legged companion was around more people or animals for longer time outside. In such case, we should bath and dry the dog immediately. Rinse its paws and wipe it with special cleaning wipes for paws. We should never use human cosmetic wet wipes for that.

To prevent the risk of contamination on a walk, pick the least crowded area possible. “Go for walks at the time when there are not many people outside. In the perfect case, go to places where you know will be very little people. If you can see somebody in front of you, be tolerant, pass them in a safe distance with a mask over your mouth and nose. Don’t get together with other people with dogs, pets will be able to meet each other as soon as the situation settles,” says Lesiuková.

If you have a cat that likes to wander around, limit its movement and try to entertain the pet at home. If it spends most time outside, designate a space for the cat at home where you will feed it and where it can hide when the weather is bad. A bathroom or a shed is perfect for it. In the perfect case, disinfect yourself before entering and after leaving the room. A cat should always have access to some dry, warm place and food or water. If the pets were used to being in contact with you, don’t take it from them, just follow stricter sanitary measures.

In the case you yourself are in quarantine, we treat a dog, a cat or any other pet as any other family member. We limit close contact with it, we give up on cuddling and kissing for some time and don’t get into contact with it at all, if possible. If it’s not possible, wash your hands before the contact and have a mask for the whole time. In the case other people could get into contact with the pet, transmitting by hair can be effectively eliminated by washing the pet in soap water. Healthy people should also touch the pet only in gloves.

Leisuková also recommends: “If your pet is sick, contact your vet using your phone first and consult its condition. If (s)he recommends you bring the pet for a check-up, fix some time. If you have any symptoms of the disease, let someone else take the pet.”

With the coronavirus all around, some of us might easily forget about a much bigger threat for our pets which is diseases transmitted by ticks. Therefore, don’t forget to protect your pets against those as well. How do you handle the lockdown with your pets? Have you noticed my tips how to entertain your dog while being at home during the lockdown?

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