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As we shelter in place we have more time with our pets than ever before. The joy they bring us and companionship can ease the anxiety we are all experiencing. As a pet parent there are several important facts you need to know and actions you need to take to care for your pet.

Can your pet get COVID? The consensus between human and animal health organizations (CDC, OIE, WHO) is that there is no evidence to indicate that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people.  There have been no reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19.  There have been several dogs that have tested positive for the virus in their oral and nasal cavities. However, after more investigation and thousands of additional pets swabbed, the infectious disease experts agree they do not pose a risk to humans. It is still recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.

In your preparations don’t forget your pet. Have at least a 1-2-month supply of your pet’s food and medications. This is important in case of supply interruption or in the case of quarantine or self-isolation when you cannot leave your home. Order today. Many online retailers are experiencing extended order processing times due to demand and staff reductions. Consider shopping at your local pet store or Veterinarian and asking for a curbside pickup.

What if your pet needs veterinary care? Veterinary care is deemed an essential service in Santa Cruz County. Most veterinarians are open and offering low contact appointments. Service maybe limited due to regulations or conservation of protective equipment. You should expect a protocol where your pet is taken into the clinic by a veterinary assistant for an examination and any necessary treatments.  All communication with staff and the Doctors will happen over the phone. This will reduce your risk as well as the staffs. While it is hard to have your pet taken inside without you remember that the veterinary staff is in this business because they love animals. They are doing their job and exposing themselves to increased risk to care for your pet.

In these stressful times our pets can offer us a sense of normalcy and companionship. Studies indicate that pets are powerful forms of stress relief. They can lower blood pressure and stress hormones like cortisol, which is linked to depression and anxiety. They increase beneficial hormones like oxytocin, which is linked to happiness and relaxation.

Petless? This may be a good time to foster. Santa Cruz County Animal Services is open and offering low contact curbside services. Consider bringing a pet into your home.

Take care of yourself and your pets by strictly following guidelines for social distancing and sheltering in place. Take this time to enjoy your pets companionship, take a nature walk together or snuggle on the couch.

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