With a year facing the COVID-19 pandemic officially under our belt, there is a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips regarding human transmission and lifestyle changes. However, there is less information out there regarding how pets are being impacted by this virus and what we can do to help them transition through our new normal more efficiently.
Within the first year of their life, it is essential your pup socializes as much as they can with people and other dogs. This will ensure that they will lead a lifestyle conducive to companionship, friendliness and overall happiness. Many owners today have strayed away from socializing not only for themselves but for their dogs which is preventing them from gaining the necessary skill set they will need for healthy relationships with canine and human friends. While it has been found that people can spread COVID-19 to animals in some situations based on current data it’s far less likely to substantially impact our furry friends and their owners.
Based on current statistics, a small number of animals nationwide have been reported to be infected by this virus. As of February 22, there have been 41 dog related cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States in total (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). In comparison to human cases nationwide, this number is minuscule and not a major cause for concern. Furthermore, these cases found in dogs are correlated to direct contact with individuals already infected by COVID-19. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association there is no evidence yet that dogs can pass COVID-19 on to their humans. Therefore, the risk of contracting from a furry friend is still considered to be extremely low.
With vaccine administration expanding on a regular basis, our country is on the mend and there is hope for a safe return to normal on the near horizon. Dog owners should take this time to continue to socialize their puppy and reintroduce them to environments where they can learn how to behave in groups.
Here are some tips and guidelines to keep in mind for safe socialization with your pup during this interim time:
- Spend Time Outside: Being outside is proven to substantially lower your risk of contracting COVID-19 for both yourself and your pup. As we’re approaching warmer weather, there will be more options including visiting a dog park, hiking a trail and checking out your local pet-friendly locations.
- Doggie Daycare: If you are personally hesitant to get your puppy out there, sometimes it’s helpful to leave it to the professionals. There are doggie daycares all over the region that offer an outdoor space for your pup to meet new dogs in a safe environment.
- Training Techniques: If you are introducing your puppy to socialization for the first time, there are a number of training tactics you can try out to help them become more accustomed to socializing. For example, try exposing your puppy to masks in safe spaces by wearing them inside while you play with them so they won’t be scared when a strange in a mask walks by. You can also reward your puppy with lots of praise or a small treat when they show friendly behavior towards another human during a walk.
Nicole Rigger is the Founder of Pets a Go Go, a service provider of choice for more than 4,300+* pet parents (and their furbabies) in Westchester County, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut for the last fifteen plus years. The Paw Squad® members offer customized pet care in our all-green, 24 hour staffed, 100 percent cage-free facility for doggie daycare as well as overnight services along with expert training and grooming and so much more. For more information: www.petsagogo.com