With the emphasis on caring for our own health in this COVID-19 pandemic, we need to remember how important the role of our pets can be in our own health.
First off I want to emphasize that there is no evidence at this point that companion animals can spread the COVID-19 virus. Nor is their any indication that they can get it. This information has been provided by both the CDC and the WHO.
But with additional time at home for many of us, our pets become a much more important factor in our health. According to the CDC ” Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners.” And in this time of social distancing the social impact of having pets cannot be overemphasized.
We know now that pets are very much a part of our families. They become increasingly important to our emotional well being when we spend less time with other people. This is one of the primary ways in which we will notice their impact on our health at this time.
But it is also important to remember that their general physical health can have an impact on ours, too. So for starters, always practice good hygiene when it comes to being around your pet.
That means, making sure to wash your hands thoroughly after playing with, feeding, and cleaning up after your pet. Hopefully we were doing this anyway, but the CDC and other agencies really emphasize the importance of this currently.
It also means cleaning up surfaces where you and your pet may share contact. Also keep your pet away (as much as possible) from areas where you prepare, serve, consume, or store food. Yes, I give my pets table food sometimes, too, so I know it can be difficult to do this.
And of course, make sure you are cleaning up your pets’ waste. Especially if it’s in public areas. And use good hygiene when doing this, particularly when cleaning litter boxes.
The CDC and other human health agencies also stress the importance of keeping up with regular veterinary care and maintaining your pets health to keep yourself healthy. All pets need ongoing preventative medicine throughout their lives. Regular vaccinations, deworming, and flea and tick control are essential to their health and ours.
While some routine care may be unwarranted during this time, vaccination against things like Rabies and other diseases is critical to maintain. Regular deworming along with maintaining control of ticks and fleas on pets is also essential to reducing our exposure to other diseases.
As much as possible we will work here to maintain our regular schedule to assist you in caring for your pet in the best way possible. In order to maintain social distancing we will endeavor to keep our appointment times elongated to prevent contact with others. We will also use our online pharmacy whenever possible to reduce unnecessary visits. We will be offering curbside care whenever it is appropriate or to reduce any anxiety on your part.
If there is any particular way we can help you in these difficult times, please reach out to us and we will do our best to help.
Dr. Jon Woodman