Since Covid-19 doesn’t show any signs of slowing down and is increasing in many areas including Southern California, we thought you might be wondering about the health and safety of your furry friends. To that end, this is the first of a three-part series on your four-legged kids, how they may be managing during the pandemic, and how to manage and care for them. Let’s start with an overview.
First, Take a Deep Breath
As you probably know by now, SARS-CoV-2 is a newly discovered virus that results in the Covid-19 disease, which is a respiratory disease initially identified in China in late 2019. Since the disease is new, there are still many unknowns even though more is learned about the virus all the time. Sometimes information can appear contradictory and it can become confusing and overwhelming. So take a deep breath, take precautions where you can, and know that we will get through this together.
Did you breathe? We won’t start until you breathe…
There you go! Okay, let’s begin.
Coronavirus and Pets
The National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that there are hundreds of coronaviruses that cause a variety of diseases. There are four main sub-groupings of coronaviruses, many of which cause what we identify as “the common cold” in humans and three more severe, recent ones that are zoonotic. Zoonotic means they “jump” from animals to humans. These include SARS, MERS, and Covid-19.
According to the CDC, SARS-CoV-2 has been found in a small number of cats and dogs. While the risk of transmission from pet to an owner is low, transmission from human to pet is thought to be higher.
Coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 are spread through droplets. Droplets are small amounts of fluid containing the virus that can be transmitted from the infected to another host through sneezes, coughs, surfaces contaminated by droplets, or direct physical contact. This is where social distancing comes into effect. As a general precaution, it is good to practice social distancing with your pets along with other people.
Dog Parks, Dog Walkers, and Social Distancing
We know you want to keep both yourself and your pets safe. Social distancing continues to be the best way to provide protection. This includes behaviors such as:
- Not allowing your pets to interact with anyone outside the household
- Walking dogs on a leash and maintaining the six-feet rule
- Avoiding large gathering at parks or other public places
- Adhering to local regulations
Limiting close contact will decrease the risk to you and your dog of contracting Covid-19. There are ways to do this while still enjoying access to fresh air and exercise, which reduces stress and improves health. Some dog parks in Ventura County are now open. If you take your dog to a dog park, maintain the six-foot rule from other pet owners. If a dog park seems like too much risk, you can always take your dog on a walk in a less public space.
Ventura County pet services are allowed to operate with a submitted Covid-19 prevention plan. Both pet groomers and veterinary offices determine whether to open, for what hours and services, and with specified precautions to protect your pets and their staff. Social distancing is a key factor in prevention plans. You may see this in changes to services including curbside service, telehealth options, health screens before appointments, and more. Your best bet is to go to your provider’s website and view their operating plan. If you have any questions, call them. Only do business with those who you feel comfortable and are taking the right precautions to care for your pets in the same way as you.
Fortunately, dog lovers and responsible business owners are in abundance. So take solace in knowing that most people are doing everything they can right now to protect our furry friends.
Be sure to check out our next blog in this series where we will discuss helpful tips for dog walkers!
Have a serious injury and need legal advice?
Contact Howard Blau.
Ventura County’s Favorite Law Office