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How to take care of your pet when self-isolating

When you’re self-isolating, it can be confusing to know what you can and can’t do – especially when it comes to looking after your pet! As animal lovers, we always want to do right by our pets. But having to self-isolate can really disrupt our pet care routine.

You might be isolating because you’ve got Covid-19 symptoms, have tested positive or if you live with someone who’s tested positive or has symptoms. No matter the situation, you’re required to stay at home for the full duration of your isolation period. Unsure when you have to isolate? You can find the most up-to-date guidance on self-isolating from Public Health England or on the NHS website.

Staying indoors poses a unique set of problems for all pet owners across the UK. If you’re self-isolating, can your pet stay with you? And how do you properly look after them during this time? We explore some of these issues below…

Can I walk my dog if I’m self-isolating?

It’s advised that you don’t leave your home while self-isolating. This includes taking your dog for a walk. Daily exercise and walks are crucial for your dog’s mental and physical health and where possible should be maintained. In the case of self-isolating you should ask a friend, neighbour, or family member to walk your dog. You could also try a professional dog walker, too. But whoever you choose, always let them know about your circumstances in advance. This way, everyone can take the right precautions to stay safe.

Since you’re isolating, they won’t be able to come inside your home. We recommend that they use their own lead when taking your dog for a walk. Plus, you should keep the handover very brief, ensuring that hands are washed before and after handling. And always keep a minimum of two-metres between you.

If you’re still finding that your dog has extra energy they need to burn off, discover our guide on fun and creative ways to exercise your dog indoors.

Can my cat go outside if I’m self-isolating?

The short answer? Yes. Your cat can continue their everyday routine even if you’re self-isolating. Some cats might be happy to stay indoors. And for those that are, we recommend encouraging them to stay inside during the entire isolation period.

If you do keep your cat inside, it’s important to keep them entertained and active. This way, you’ll reduce their stress levels. If you’re unsure whether your cat is stressed or not, check out our helpful guide to spotting the signs of an anxious cat.

If your cat does go outside while you’re self-isolating, it’s advised that you reduce coming into close contact with them. Wash your hands before and after touching them and any of their pet-belongings.

Grey cat on a bed

What if my pet needs to see a vet when I’m self-isolating?

If your cat or dog needs to see a vet and you’re self-isolating, you should initially give the practice a call to talk through your pet’s issues. Some vets are providing different ways to help your poorly – think video consultations and medications in the mail.

In the case of a pet emergency, we recommend asking someone you know – from outside of your household – to take them to the vet. But you should inform your vet of the situation before bringing the animal inside the practice. Many vets have extra precautions in place to keep everyone safe, so you may want to confirm the finer details before turning up.

My pet has ongoing medication, how will I get it?

If your pet requires ongoing treatment or is on a repeat prescription, then we advise calling your vet for guidance. Some vet practices will post or deliver medication straight to your door. However, if your vet isn’t posting or delivering, then you should ask a family member or friend outside of your household to collect and drop off your pet’s medication.

Make sure that you contact your vet in good time as they may need additional time to process your request.

What to do if you run out of pet food when self-isolating

When self-isolating, you should make sure you have enough pet food for at least two weeks. If you find that you’re running low and you’re unable to leave your house to get more, then you’ll need to ask a friend or neighbour to go and get you some. Tell them of your situation and set up proper social distancing and disinfection measures to reduce the risk of infection.

If you’re unable to call upon a friend or neighbour, a lot of pet supplies can be ordered online from places like Pets at Home or your local supermarket. Just so you know, delivery can take longer than expected so always double check before placing your order.

Dog food in a bowl

My pet needs their vaccinations but I’m self-isolating, what should I do?

Before visiting the vets, it important to ring ahead to discuss your pet’s situation. Different practices will operate and handle vet visits differently. If your pet’s vaccinations are overdue, ring your vet to discuss your options.

If your puppy or kitten is unvaccinated, you should keep them in the house until you’re able to get them jabbed. You must also keep them away from other dogs or cats.

If your adult dog requires a booster vaccination, don’t worry. There’s a three-month leeway after their due date, so self-isolating won’t affect this. But it’s always best to talk this through with your vet anyway.

If your vet is taking patients – and the vaccination is a necessity – then plan for a friend or family member to take your pet to their appointment. Remember to socially distance and disinfect pre and post-visit.

Self-isolating can be tough for both you and your pet. Make sure that you find ways to mentally stimulate yourself and keep your pet entertained. Pick up a new book, teach your pet a new trick or start a new hobby and it will be over in no time!

If you’re looking for more useful tips and tricks for you and your pet, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages.


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