Pet Lovers’ Guide to COVID-19 Quarantine

While the world deals with the unprecedented collective panic of COVID-19, Jersey City pet lovers may have some concerns that aren’t being addressed by our local officials. Here we will go over some of those concerns for Jersey City’s pet lovers during this pandemic.

 

The Truth About Dogs and COVID-19

There have been a number of frightening headlines about two dogs in Hong Kong who “tested positive” for COVID-19, one of which has died. The dog who died was 17 years old, and a death of a dog this age is far from out of the ordinary. The World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control have stated there is little evidence that dogs or cats can (in rare cases) contract Covid-19, but even if they do, the chances of them transferring it to humans is little to none. In the above cases the dogs were owned by humans with the virus, and the germs on their fur are likely what resulted in the positive tests. The chances of catching COVID-19 from pets is virtually none, but uneducated hysteria has resulted in many dogs and cats being abandoned and killed. It’s important that all pet lovers understand that the risks of spreading inflammatory news stories is much more dangerous for our pets than they are to people. For example, the below image shows a K9 mask which is completely unnecessary for your pet to wear.

Pet Lovers' Guide to COVID-19
K9 masks like this one are completely unnecessary for your pets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of k9mask.com

 

Avoiding Canine Cabin Fever

Just as we are feeling cooped up and restless, our canine companions are as well. Spending time at home with your dog gives you the opportunity to review some basic obedience (that “Leave It” can use some work, can’t it?) and try fun tricks like “Cover Your Nose” and “Roll Over”. I highly recommend Kyra Sundance’s trick book for fun suggestions. Some dog trainers and obedience schools are also currently offering online training courses with video chatting as well. Games such as Hide and Seek, or a “Nosework” scavenger hunt for hidden treats around the house is fun for both the dogs and any children who may be at home. There are many puzzle toys available for purchase such as extensive lines from Outward Hound, Busy Buddies, and Kong. These can keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated while you get some work done. A flirt pole is another excellent toy that can expend a lot of energy but doesn’t require a lot of space. It’s important too that during quarantine you make sure your dog has some quiet, alone time, lest they get accustomed to constant attention, and struggle to adjust when life goes back to normal.

Pet Lovers' Guide to COVID-19
Kyra Sundance and Chalcy 101 dog tricks book. Photography by Nick Saglimbeni

 

When is it Necessary to Leave Home for My Pet?

Unless your dog is wee wee pad trained, it’s necessary to go outside so they can relieve themselves. Exercise is also necessary for the dog to not go stir crazy (or drive their people crazy!). While walking your dog is currently permitted, it’s important to choose walking routes that are more isolated to avoid contact with other people. Avoid any opened dog parks, on-site dog runs in buildings, or other spaces where people congregate.

You may run out of food, litter and other supplies for your pets, but one not need leave home for them. Dog food purchased on monthly subscriptions such as Holi Chow and The Farmer’s Dog are excellent choices, as well as Chewy.com that sells a variety of products. Local small businesses Fussy Friends and Hound About Town also offer home deliveries. In the event of a medical issue or emergency, many veterinarians are still seeing patients, but have guidelines to keep humans out of the clinic. Contact your local vet or the emergency clinic to find out what measures they are taking.

Pet Lovers' Guide to COVID-19
Brisco in front of JC business Fussy Friends. Photo by Tracie Koehnlein

 

Consider Fostering or Adopting a New Pet

Amid this crisis, many animal shelters are getting an influx of more surrenders due to panic and financial hardship, as well as having to block volunteers for social distancing. A lack of adoptions and volunteers will result in more animals being unnecessarily euthanized. If you were thinking of welcoming a new pet into your home, now would be a great time to do so. Temporarily fostering a cat, dog, or even litter of puppies or kittens is a great way to spend your time and help out the community. This can be a particularly good choice for school age and teenage children home from school, as well as socializing the isolated animals to a real home. If interested, contact local pet rescues and shelters such as Liberty Humane Society, See Spot Rescued, Jersey Cats, Metro Cat Rescue and more to see if you can help out.

Pet Lovers' Guide to COVID-19
Foster kittens. Photo courtesy of Jersey Cats

 

Support Your Local Pet Care Providers

While many are aware the COVID-19 crisis is having a detrimental effect on industries like travel, restaurants, and events, the pet care industry is also facing a massive hit. Most dog walkers/sitters, daycares, groomers, and trainers are self-employed individuals or small businesses that have seen a drastic decrease or complete stop in their work. These are not jobs that can be done from home, and many pet care providers are having to resort to crowdfunding websites or worrying about having to close altogether or find other employment.

Many dog walking companies are still open, while taking extra precautions to keep themselves, the dogs and their clients’ homes clean and safe. If you typically use a walker (or have been thinking about it) please get your dog walked during this crisis. For extra safety and social distancing, you can do things like ask the walker to use their own leash instead of your own, hand the dog right out the door while you stay inside, wipe your dog down with a wet paper towel after the walk, and Lysol/wipe your door handle.

Mika on her walk with Bark Buildings. Photo by Tracie Koehnlein.

If you are not comfortable currently using a walker, please consider supporting them by pre-purchasing services for the future, paying them without services, sending money to their fundraisers, or just spreading the word to others who may to hire them. Jersey City’s pet care providers want to make sure everyone stays safe, healthy, to go back to business as usual once this is over!

 

Riding Out Our Quarantine Together

Things still feel uncertain and frightening for everyone during this unexpected crisis and quarantine. However all of us in Jersey City and the world will get through this by supporting each other, keeping each other financially afloat, and allowing wagging tails and melodious purrs to comfort us in this time of need.

Gordon and Lanny comforting their people. Photo courtesy of Melissa Miller and Richard Hillson