While it has been found that dogs can contract several strains of coronavirus, the jury is still out on whether or not pets can infect humans in the traditional sense. And research shows that the strain pets contract is different than that which humans do. So while you may not need to worry about your dog sneezing on you and making you sick, we have to remember that Coronavirus cells can live on surfaces—both soft and hard—for potentially hours or even days, and that could mean it’s living on Fido.
I know that I, as a pet owner, have had concerns about how living with and caring for an animal may affect my chances of getting the Coronavirus. While I’m over here wiping down grocery store carts and obsessively using hand sanitizer after pumping gas or putting my hand on an escalator rail, I am, at the same time, taking my dog to parks where she plays with other animals and humans. Then I’m cuddling and kissing my pet, who I bring straight from a very public place back into our private home.
There is something inherently social about having a pet. Pets need walks (one of the reasons they’re generally good for our health!) Pets need to go to the groomer and the vet and to play dates. It’s hard to be a recluse when you have a pet, but right now, during a pandemic, a recluse is exactly what many people want to be. I just can’t hole up in my home when I have a miniature poodle who requires three walks a day. And I can’t really keep my hands to myself (as health professionals are advising) when I have a pup who wants pets, and who I often need to carry in my arms. If you’re in the same boat I am, here are Coronavirus precautions for pet owners.
Keep antibacterial wipes at the door
Order antibacterial wipes to keep at your front door, and to use on your pet each time she comes in from an outing. If you are sensitive to fragrance or your pet has sensitive skin, there are many hypoallergenic ones available. Remember that your pet walks on the ground, where all sorts of bacteria may live. Then she walks around in your home—maybe on your bed and pillows—with those very paws. So wipe her down.