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Spending the spring with your pet with COVID-19 in mind

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Your daily routine and weekend outings with your pet will probably look much different this spring amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts continue to evaluate the novel coronavirus, exploring different angles on how it spreads and how to treat it. As a pet owner, you’re likely tentative to enjoy the activities you usually do in the spring with your fuzzy companion.

Current evidence suggests that you don’t have to worry about getting the virus from your pet. However, there have been some cases where pets have contracted the virus, usually after being around someone with COVID-19. On top of that, the threat of spreading COVID-19 between pet owners remains high.

With that in mind, your daily routine and weekend outings with your pet will probably look much different this spring. Here are some do’s and don’ts as you try to keep your pets and yourself safe.

DO walk your dog: As long as you’re maintaining six feet of distance between yourself and other people, neighborhood strolls and hikes on quiet trails are a great way to experience the outdoors. Watch out for blooming plants that may cause allergies or that may be toxic to animals.

DON’T allow unnecessary interaction: In addition to following the six-foot rule, avoid stopping for playtime with other dogs on your walks. Always leash your dog so you can guide them away from other people and animals. Keep your cats indoors to shield them from other people and animals, too.

DO wash your hands: Even though evidence doesn’t show that COVID-19 can spread from pets’ fur or skin to people, the CDC still recommends handwashing to combat germs after going to public places with your pet.

DON’T visit dog parks: Without socialization or space to run during quarantine, your dog might be dreaming about off-leash park areas. Use discretion when visiting these parks. The CDC recommends avoiding public places where people congregate. These parks threaten your ability to maintain six feet between yourself and other owners. You also won’t be able to control your pet from interacting with others. If you must visit a public park like this, choose off-peak times when there is plenty of space between owners and dogs. Backyards or deserted trails are your best bets for exercising with your pet during this time.

DO keep plenty of water handy: Hydration is always important for pets, but as temperatures rise, the potential for losing water increases. Dogs require about one ounce of water per pound that they weigh. The appropriate amount of water for cats relates to the food they consume each day.

DON’T touch other animals if you’re sick: The CDC advises that you avoid contact with your pets if you have COVID-19 symptoms. This includes petting, snuggling, and allowing your pet to lick you. This may require a family member or friend to help care for your pet while you are showing symptoms. If it’s impossible to find someone to help you care for your pet, wash your hands before and after handling your pet, and wear a mask to cover your mouth.

Pet owners can do their part in flattening the curve this spring. Practicing the guidelines recommended by the CDC is the first step toward keeping others safe and returning to the seasonal activities you love to experience with your pet and fellow owners.

Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet’s Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.