Animal experts answer questions about self-isolating, social distancing with pets

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(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world, many are wondering – should I be worried about my pet? WFRV spoke with Dr. Becky Krull of the Green Bay & Allouez Animal Hospital and Chanda Holschbach, a Certified Veterinary Technician and president/owner of Packerland Veterinarian.

Here’s what Dr. Krull and CVT Holschbach had to say about our furry family members during the coronavirus pandemic:

If I am self-isolating or have been ordered to isolate, can I still be around my pet?

Both Dr. Krull and CVT Holschbach say that if you are sick, you should try and distance yourself from your pets, citing research by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IDEXX Laboratories, and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.

“If your pet is a service animal it is recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling and wear a face mask,” CVT Holschbach adds.

Dr. Krull explains that AVMA and IDEXX have found that coronavirus is not transmittable or contagious to our pets, but if you are sick, you should do your best to isolate yourself from them.

“If you are showing symptoms – coughing, sneezing, fever, not feeling well – the recommendation is that you do separate the pet from you and use really good hand hygiene.” She goes on to explain that if you do, for example, sneeze on your pet while contagious, those particles could remain on your pet and you or someone else could then touch the animal and collect those particles.

Pets are not believed to be major carriers in the disease, but it is still important to practice good hand hygiene during this time.

Should I not let my dog interact with other dogs or people when we are out walking? 

“Yes, please avoid coming within six feet of other dogs and people even when out walking,” CVT Holschbach advises.

“It’s just good etiquette and good dog walking etiquette that your dog always be on a leash,” Dr. Krull says. “When you approach another person or pet, it’s not good for them to come nose to nose anyway.” She adds that, especially with the new guidelines on social distancing, it is even more important to maintain at least six feet between you and others.

If my pet needs care during this time, can I bring them into the clinic? Is there another option for receiving care? 

CVT Holschbach says many 24 hour care vets are still open for essential appointments with modified hours and other functional changes in how they are seeing appointments.

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