Dogs, cats and the coronavirus (Covid-19): Overview of the most important information for pet owners

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The current situation is not only causing uncertainty when it comes to dealing with people. Many dog and cat owners are also wondering how SARS-CoV-2 – commonly known as the coronavirus – can affect their pet. As we are committed to you beyond just nutritional needs in accordance with our claim “Responsible pet nutrition”, we will address a few questions about the coronavirus and how this affects pet owners.

This is a very common question from pet owners. The German Animal Welfare Association* unequivocally explained that corona viruses have existed in dogs and cats for many years, but that these have little in common with SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus we are currently dealing with. In dogs these can cause mild diarrhoea, and in cats they can lead to Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). But there is no link to the current virus that can cause the viral disease COVID-19 in humans.

Currently there is no evidence that cats or dogs play a role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. It goes without saying that you should still follow the basic hygiene rules and wash your hands regularly. If you are infected, you should refrain from cuddling, sharing food or other mouth or nose contact with your pet. However, breathing masks or disinfectants for pets are not required and are completely inappropriate for our four-legged friends: in addition to stress, these can cause skin injuries or damage the mucous membranes.

Persons who are under quarantine should not leave their house or apartment under any circumstances – not even to take your pet for a walk. If you have direct access to a backyard, we recommend sending the dog or cat to the backyard while you remain in your house or apartment. If this is not possible, ask a friend, family member or other acquaintance for help walking your pet. Adhering to the hygiene rules is particularly important here as well. The person helping out should not enter the house or apartment and use a leash and collar that was not previously inside the apartment. House cats can of course simply remain in the house or apartment.

Countries such as Italy, Spain, France and Belgium already have mandatory curfews. Despite this, dog owners are still allowed to walk their dogs as long as they stay near where they live. If the German government also mandates a curfew, the health department will provide information on what to do.

This is not necessary. As confirmed by the Industrieverband Heimtierbedarf (IVH), pet supplies stores are excluded from mandatory closure, just like food retailers. This means that pet food will be available as usual. At Dr.Clauder’s, we have also taken measures to minimise the risk of infection for our employees. Through these measures, we can continue to ensure the availability of goods for you and your four-legged friends.

Social distancing naturally also affects our pets. No more playtime in the park and no more agility training in dog school. But thankfully cats and dogs are also easily entertained at home, because mental exercises tire out our furry friends just as much as walking. Hiding treats, playing with toys, retrieval training with a feed dummy or new commands and tricks ensure that you and your best friend don’t get bored.

So get comfortable at home with your pets, adhere to the hygiene rules and reduce social contact as much as possible. And above all, stay healthy!