The introduction of lockdown to combat COVID19, requires people to stay at home, but it has come with its share of joys and sorrows. There are a lot of questions for which a plethora of answers are available. However, many of you might have confusion about taking care of a pet and stray animals in the current scenario.
There is currently no evidence of transmission of COVID19 virus to humans from pets or reports of the infection in pets. Here are 5 questions regarding petcare in quarantine:
1. Is It “Okay” If I Take My Dog Out For A Walk?
Yes, it is okay to take your pet or dog out for a walk but make sure you are covering yourself with a face mask and gloves (pets don’t require face mask and gloves, so please don’t try it on them). A daily walk is good for the mental and physical health of your pets. Moreover, a quick toilet break is also necessary for them. But still, you should maintain social distancing for yourself and your pet from other people and their pets. Try not to go for long walks and stay within walking distance from your home.
When your strolling is over with your pet, do not skip the mandatory hygiene regime of washing your hands and cleaning the paws of your pet as soon as you arrive home.
2. Can We Pet Or Stroke Other People’s Pet?
It is not advised to stroke other’s pets for your and their safety both. However, there is no evidence of COVID-19 getting transmitted through pets. This said, it is sensible to take precautions as there can be chances of the virus being present on the pet’s collar or body fur.
So, it is advised NOT to stroke or pet animal. Although, if it is unavoidable and you cannot resist yourself touching them, please wash and clean yourself with soap.
3. My Friend Has Been Advised To Self-Isolate/Hospitalise. Can I Walk/Take Care Of Their Dog?
If you are healthy and haven’t been advised to isolate then it’s your time to be the guarding angel for that baby (pet, of course). So, yes, you can offer your service as a pet sitter but not before taking the following precautions to keep everyone else safe:
- You both (your friend and you) should maintain good hygiene practice like regularly washing of hands, particularly before and after the pet handover.
- You both should follow social distancing with a gap of at least two metres.
- A good practice for handover is, the isolated person should let their dog out into a contained area first, then move back inside. The walker can then come in with a different leash and attach it to the dog’s collar.
- The walker should follow all social distancing protocols while out with the dog – staying two metres away from other people and their pets at all times and not allowing others to touch the dog.
- On returning, wipe the dog down with a clean, damp, disposable cloth.
- Follow the same handover process as above in reverse – the walker should leave the dog in a contained area and remove their lead then move away. The isolated person can then come out to take their dog back inside.
4. What Can Be Done If Running Out Of Pet Food And Pet Supplies?
As directed by the Indian government all the food supplies and animal food stores are supposed to be open as they come under the essential item category. Some of the supermarkets like Reliance mart and Big Bazaar provide pet food. If you are running out of pet food, few online portals like Grofers, BigBasket and PetShopIndia are still providing pet food through online order in India.
If your pet is on prescription food, we’d advise contacting your vet to discuss the options. It may be possible for them to post or deliver the food to you or they may be able to recommend an online supplier.
5. Is It Okay To Feed Food To Stray Animals Is SAFE.
Lockdown is not only strenuous for humans but for stray animals too (though these days they have the liberty to roam free anywhere) as they have to look out for food which was already scarce for them. Even the Prime Minister of India has urged the people to help and feed these animals in their best possible capacities. By now, you must be aware that these animals are not a carrier of COVID-19 virus. With basic precautions like gloves and mask you can feed the stray animals of your locality with biscuits and milk. If you are not eagerly feeding them yourself, you can always fund various animal NGOs like pawstersfoundation, friendicoes and tail of compassion.
6. Are Medical And Emergency Services For Pets Open?
All vets and their support staff have been asked to keep an emergency service open. So, it is recommended that you call your vet before visiting them – they might need to arrange for extra precautions to keep everyone safe. If a visit is not possible, they can provide a telephonic/video consultation. If any vaccination is pending for your pet baby, you are advised to be patient and delay it for an appropriate time or once normal services resume. In the current situation, vets have to prioritize emergency care. Many clinics are operating with reduced staff so many of them can’t provide preventive care such as vaccinations at this time. Until your pet is fully vaccinated, they mustn’t go anywhere.
It’s best to keep them indoors or in a private garden until they are fully protected.
Please Note : The advice and suggestions mentioned are for people who are healthy and are not infected by COVID19.