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What You Need to Know About Your Pet and COVID-19

by Friends of LANA on March 18, 2020

Lana Paws blog on what you need to know about your pet and coronavirus

Written by Disha Ramanan

With Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 being dubbed a global pandemic by the WHO, there has been panic and misinformation all around. Pet parents have been wondering if their dogs and cats can be infected with (and transmit) COVID-19. 

According to the WHO, "there is no evidence that pet dogs and cats have infected humans with COVID-19." While a dog in Hong Kong did show a weak positive, the disease did not cause the dog to fall ill, nor is there any evidence that the dog spread the virus. 
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets. This could either be directly from an infected person coughing or sneezing or from touching surfaces which may have respiratory droplets.
This makes it essential to be mindful of basic hygiene practices when dealing with your fur baby too. If there is a chance her skin and fur may have been touched by an infected person, it is necessary to wash your hands after touching her, and preferably, wash her too.
When social isolation is being encouraged around the world (even if one doesn't exhibit any symptoms), we too must self-quarantine especially if we have a cough, cold or fever. It is also necessary to include your doggo in making your own social isolation plans. If you are the primary caregiver for your pet and you have taken ill, it is necessary for another member of the family to step up and take on the primary pet parenting duties till the time you get better - whether it is for vet visits or even for walks in the park. Also, under no circumstances in panic, should we abandon our dogs and cats.
The good news is that staying in with your pet doesn't have to be all boring all the time! If your doggo is getting antsy, we have a few tips for you...

Go back to the basics

When was the last time you and your doggo revisited her basic obedience training? If your dog is food-motivated, this could be a guaranteed good time for her - and definitely a great way to spend time and bond.

A mental workout

How about teaching your dog something new, like a new trick? Dogs love having a job - when you teach them something new, you're giving their mind a workout which has the same effect of tiring them out like a regular, physical workout. How about teaching them how to hug? Some people have also trained their dogs in giving kisses - it's so easy and is such a CUTE trick! (note - you could also simply train your dog to give kisses on your hand; it doesn't have to be a face!)

A game of fetch

Fetch is the overlooked underdog (pun intended) when it comes to doggie play time. Not only is it a GREAT form of exercise, it helps build a deeper bond with your pet and helps your dog use her natural instincts too. Maybe the biggest benefit of all is that it even helps improve your dog's behaviour. So if you haven't already trained your dog to fetch, start right away

Buy a new toy, reuse the oldest ones or DIY it!

Many dogs love a good old toy. A Kong is a great favourite for many, but if you don't have one, how about revisiting a toy that fur-bae hasn't played with in a while. If the ball is her favourite, reintroduce a game of tug o' war! Or if you're someone who enjoys spending a few minutes on DIY crafts, there are so many easy toy ideas you could make just with stuff lying around the house. You can braid a couple of old tshirts or cloth rags into a great tug o' war toy. Or use a plastic bottle wrapped in a tshirt as a chew toy that could keep your pet busy for hours! Here are some great DIY toy ideas.
We hope the tips help you and your doggo fight boredom, while you can't take her out to her favourite public spaces. What is essential in beating COVID-19 is to stay safe, isolate as much as possible, resist panic and step up on basic hygiene practices. 

Note - There are many different viruses that come under the broader "coronavirus" umbrella. COVID-19 is also a type of coronavirus. Dogs are susceptible to the canine coronavirus infection (which as you may know, your dog is supposed to get vaccinations for). That is completely independent of and different to the COVID-19 virus. 

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