How Covid-19 is Affecting Pet Owners

There’s no denying that things are a bit crazy right now! Whether you’re practising safe social distancing, are self isolating at home or have been forced into full lockdown, the situation can get a little scary. While we’re constantly updated with the most recent news about the virus and how we as humans can adapt, you can’t help but notice a lack of information for our furry companions.

As pet owners, these are trying times. Being stuck inside and adapting your pet’s routines to suit this new normal may be difficult. Not to mention stress surrounding their well being and the state of local pet stores as they’re critical for the pet supply chain. In fact, nearly 1/3 of all dog and cat food needed in pet family’s homes comes from a pet store (PIJAC Canada). While us humans can stock up on necessities at a grocery store and receive medical care through hospitals, it’s critical that pet retailers remain operational to ensure the continued humane care of pets everywhere.

As of right now, to the best of current scientific knowledge, you cannot give or get Covid-19 from your pet. Dr. John Williams, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh spoke to says, “The idea that we’re going to give this virus to our pets or we’re going to get it from them is just nonsense.”

Infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventative medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville says, ”We don’t have to worry about pets – this virus now likes humans but data shows it’s not spreading among pets or farm animals.”

While there has been speculation about dogs testing positive for covid-19 in Hong Kong, Dr. Dana Varble, chief veterinary officer for the North American Veterinary Community, points to a recent test of thousands of household pets for Covid-19 by a veterinary diagnostic company. “They tested thousands of dogs and cats for this virus and found no positive results in pets, so we believe that the likelihood of dogs or cats contracting this is extremely low at this time,” Varble said.

Their advice? Embrace your pets! Now more than ever, our pets are playing a vital role in our physiological health. The human animal bond is extremely important for animal health and in situations like this, human health too! Use this extra time at home to really enjoy the companionship of your pet and watch your stress melt away with each snuggle.