With many companies asking employees to work from home, some businesses shutting their doors, and a push for social distancing, folks are staying home.
So how are their pets handling the change of routine?
Apollo and his owner are in Madison’s near east side playing fetch. His owner, Ann, is self-quarantined following a trip to the Bahamas. But Apollo is enjoying it. A big yellow dog named Leo is on a walk with his owner, Michael, an engineer who is working from home until further notice.
Animals at Dane County Humane Society who don’t yet have a home are still adoptable. Spokesperson Amy Goodman says in a typical week, the shelter adopts out up to 80 pets.
“Normally, we’re this open, welcoming facility, please come in—look at all the animals and let us know who you’re interested in. Now we’re asking people to look ahead of time on our website, identify a few pets they’re interested in meeting, and give us a call.”
Services are now by appointment only as they expect staffing shortages and increased need. Goodman says that most of the dogs adopted out of Dane County Humane Society come from states with overpopulated shelters. But due to concerns of human to human transmission, they have stopped transporting dogs to Wisconsin.
As for giving a dog the coronavirus? Scientists aren’t sure yet, but that’s not likely, says Dr. Kristen Bernard, who studies how viruses are transmitted between animals and people at UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.
“It’s possible, but at this point from all of our knowledge, it’s a very low risk. But I do want to say at this point, we really haven’t looked. So that always makes scientists nervous, if we don’t look for something, it’s possible that it’s happening. I don’t think we’re seeing any disease, so if there are infections happening we’re not getting a lot of disease, because we would notice that as veterinarians.”
But if you get sick with coronavirus, Bernard says to avoid close contact with your pet.
“What we would recommend is the person try to avoid really close contact, and what I’m talking about is nose-to-nose contact, wash your hands before interacting with the dog, and wash your hands after. But if you’re sick, definitely you want to avoid handling your dog’s face. And if you can have someone else care for the dog, that would be the best… Try to avoid close contact with your dog or cat.”
If your pet needs to see a vet during this time, here’s a list of operating vets in Dane County.