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Are our pets safe from COVID-19?

We answer pressing questions you may have relating to coronavirus and our furry friends.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — If you’re a pet parent in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, you may be asking yourself questions like, are our pets safe from COVID-19? Should we let strangers pet our furry friends right now? Maybe you’re out of dog food and don’t know what to do.

Team 12’s Trisha Hendricks went to the experts to get the answers.

”I have a dog. It’s a Great Dane Mastiff mix,” said Dr. Shanit Jha, pet parent and medical director at the Animal Medical & Surgical Center in Scottsdale.

Right now, he’s getting a lot of questions about pets pertaining to the coronavirus, like can your pet get sick from the coronavirus? The answer is no.

“Dogs and cats are not susceptible for the disease,” he said.  

There is a disease called canine coronavirus, but it’s completely different and includes symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.  

Can you get COVID-19 if someone who is infected touches your pet and then you touch your pet? Yes.

“There is a remote chance that you’ll get it,” said Dr. Jha. He recommends washing your hands before and after you pet your dog or cat and don’t let any strangers pet them.

If I’m practicing social distancing and my dog is sick, should I still bring them to the vet? Yes.

“If they are sick and need urgent and emergent care, you should definitely call,” he said.

What are clinics and staff doing to keep everyone safe?

They are open, but they’re practicing social distancing with a curb-side concierge service. You can talk face-to-face from 6 feet away.

“You roll into a parking lot number and when you call us, we will come back to the parking lot, bring your pet and then I do the diagnostics and treatment in the hospital and then give you a call,” said Dr. Jha.   

Finally, what is considered essential pet care during this time?

“Seizure, broken bone, joint pain which cannot be controlled with medication,” he said.

Dr. Jha says most pet vaccines are non-essential, but rabies is a public health issue, so if your pet is due for that booster, be sure to call your vet.

Another thing to keep in mind, if you’re out of dog food and can’t find it in the stores or online, call Dr. Jha’s office. They have plenty to get you stocked up, for at least a couple weeks. 

In some cases, boiled chicken and rice are good choices to cook for your pet. Dr. Jha has a veterinary nutritionist on staff you can talk with if you have any other questions.

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