Planning and preparing for your pets

As COVID-19 concerns rise, so do concerns about pets and what to prepare for as the “stay at home” movement sweeps the nation. When taking care of pets, be sure to get the facts.

• Dog and cats carry and transmit the COVID-19 virus. FALSE
TRUE: There is no evidence that pets can contract or spread COVID-19. While dogs and cats do carry their own versions of different viruses, these strains have been around for a long time, pets are vaccinated against many of them, and, except for rabies, they are not transmitted to humans.

• I should disinfect my pet with a special solution. FALSE
TRUE: If you are sick with any respiratory illness such as a cold or flu, and you are coughing, tiny droplets can stick to your pet’s fur, just as they stick to your cellphone, your kitchen counter or any other surface. Proper hand washing stops the spread of germs; wash your hands thoroughly before and after petting your companion animal and consider bathing them more frequently. Do not use any product on your pet that you would not use on your own human baby. It is recommended, that after your illness subsides, you give your dog a good bath with shampoo or Dawn dishwashing detergent before taking him or her into public.

• Pets at home are a risk and should be surrendered to a shelter. FALSE
TRUE: Your pets at home are not at risk of becoming sick, nor getting you sick with COVID-19. In fact, it’s been proven that having pets in the home helps reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and provide companionship. These are good reasons for keeping your companion animal or adopting a furry friend.

As a caregiver for your companion animal, here are a few things you should consider now:
• Designate a trusted caregiver for your pet in the event you or someone in your family becomes sick or hospitalized.
• Do not surrender your pet to a shelter.
• Research potential boarding facilities in the event that your pet needs to be boarded or looked after.
• Keep extra newspaper, potty pads and cleaning supplies on hand in event you are not able to walk your pet outside.

For additional information and updates, please call 561-233-1200, or visit pbcgov.com/animal.

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