To assist, PETstock has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions:
Can my pet be infected with the COVID-19 virus?
Currently, there is limited evidence that pets and companion animals can get infected with COVID-19 and no evidence they can pass it to humans.
As a precaution, practice good hand hygiene and social distancing measures, and minimise contact with your pet if sick.
If you have contracted COVID-19, try to have your pet cared for by another member of your household, and avoid kissing and snuggling with your pet. PETstock Vet hospitals will still treat your pet if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Customers can:
- Call 13 PETS for more information. Alternatively, pet parents can video chat with a veterinarian in Australia from 6am to midnight from the comfort of your own home on PETstock’s Vet Chat service HERE.
- Pet owners can reference the latest government news HERE or call the Australian Coronavirus Health Information line on 1800 020 080.
What can I do to best protect myself and my pet?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) website is an excellent resource with regards to general hygiene advice and recommendations.
With regards to humans:
- Frequently and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid close contact for you and your pet with anyone who has a fever or cough.
- Avoid greetings that include physical contact e.g. handshakes, high-fives.
- If you are unwell, remain at home and follow the guidelines provided by the WHO.
With regards to pets:
- Until more information is known, avoid contact with unfamiliar animals and during this time it is recommended to always practice good hygiene such as washing hands before and after an interaction with any pet.
- With many people currently self-isolating and working from home it’s important that when taking a break from the confines of the home, pet owners are extra vigilant with outdoor play in public spaces including the beach and practice social distancing.
Is hand sanitiser toxic to pets?
With hand sanitiser being used now more than ever, it’s important to store containers in a safe place out of your pet’s reach such as secure bathroom or kitchen cupboards and benchtops, not in your handbag or on the floor.
PETstock VET, Dr Sasha Nefedova, urges pet parents to seek medical attention immediately if your pet has ingested a large volume of hand sanitiser.
“Hand sanitiser contains ethanol, more commonly known as alcohol, which is highly toxic to pets if consumed in large amounts. Although simply licking small quantities of hand sanitiser will not cause significant harm to your pet, it is important to take necessary precautions where possible.
“After application, ensure the hand sanitiser it is completely dried on both hands before coming into contact with your pet. Avoid touching them on the head or around the mouth where there is potential for them to lick your hands,” she says.
What are some ways to help the pet community now?
PETstock Assist Charity and Events Coordinator, Jess Guilfoyle, says rescue groups and shelters are expecting to see the number of pets being surrendered to increase as a result of financial hardships and uncertainty many pet parents face with the outbreak of COVID-19.
“With more animals in desperate need of emergency care, now is a great time to consider adopting or becoming a foster carer. Being confined to your home will allow you to bond with the animal and give them the attention and dedication they deserve.
“Foster care provides a loving home environment for rescue pets while they wait for their forever home. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience and the perfect way to pay it forward during the COVID-19 crisis if you can’t take on a full-time pet.”
However, it’s important to remember that foster care is a long-term commitment, meaning you must be able to provide the animal with the love and attention they require once life returns to normal. This means taking into consideration the lifestyle you will live after COVID-19.
Your local PETstock team can recommend rescue groups and shelters in your area or you can visit PetRescue.com.au to search for pets currently looking to be fostered and for their forever home.
It’s also a great time to consider a donation to your local group as most rely heavily on fundraising at events which have now been cancelled or postponed.
There are hundreds of incredible organisations and charities who are making a difference to the lives of animals and families during the COVID-19 crisis such as PETstock’s charity organisation PETstock Assist. 100% of donations to PETstock Assist are donated to charities that share its mission.
For more information or to make a donation visit the PETstock website.