Should Your Pet Wear a Mask?

Pet coronavirus masks
Image by Andrea Bohl from Pixabay

We are living in some crazy times right now and with the requirement of masks we are seeing an increase in fashion masks as well as pet masks. But the big question most pet owners have is do pets need to wear masks? This is an important question in terms of all of our health in this world of Covid-19. First, though we require humans to wear masks at the Vetco veterinary clinic we do not require pets to wear masks.

Questions about Pet Face Masks

Have there been cases of pets carrying Covid-19?

-Yes there have been a couple of recorded cases though this does not seem to be a widespread or common issue.

Can Pets contract Covid?

-Yes, but the main Covid virus that dogs can contract is not the same as the Covid-19 and is not an issue for people. There is also a vaccine for the canine Covid virus which you can get at our daily walk-in shot clinic.

Can pets transmit Covid-19?

-The short answer is yes, but it is more likely that pets are going to transmit Covid from people petting their coats and transmitting via touch than from them catching the virus.

Do your pets need masks?

-No, they do not need masks. But we are constantly learning more about the Coronavirus and how it is being transmitted. If you are a high risk person or feel anxious about your dog being in public without a mask, by all means have them wear one. It will not hurt your dog or cat to wear one, though they may greatly dislike it.

Pet Mask Safey

If you want your pet to wear a face mask please make sure to follow some basic safety procedures.

  • Not all animals will be ok with wearing a face mask. If you pet shows a lot of distress or anxiety about wearing a mask, you may need to get them gradually use to it by only having them wear it for a few seconds and then slowly increasing the time until they are comfortable wearing it.
  • Make sure the masks fits properly. Human masks are not meant for pets. There are companies that are making masks for pets and you should get one of these custom specialty masks and make sure to follow the fitting instructions.
  • Wash the mask every time your pet wears it. A dirty mask could open your pet to other infections, such as a sinus infection, if they are wearing dirty masks.
  • Do not leave the mask on for more than an hour at a time.

If you want to keep yourself and your pet safe from the Coronavirus, do not allow people to pet your pet without washing or disinfecting their hands first. Keep a 6 foot distance from other animals and other people to reduce potential exposure. If you are concerned that your dog has been touched by an infected person, DO NOT disinfect your dog. You can safely disinfect them by washing them with shampoo but do not use any kind of disinfectant on your dog as that can make them very sick.

Swamp Cooler of Death! Or At Least Allergies

Do you have your swamp cooler up and running yet? We keep having the occasional cool day but most days are hot. Did you know that improper servicing of your evaporative cooler could be cause you and your pet health issues?

You know that musty smell that fills your house when you first turn on your swamp cooler? We usually just think that is dust but it could be mold.

Swamp coolers have big pads on the sides of them that get wet with water and then air is pulled through those pads and cooled down. That cool moist air is blown through our house and cools us down, as well as adding a little bit of humidity to our air. It feels great. The problem is, it is easy for a pad to develop mold in it over the winter and as you blow that cold air you are also blowing mold.

Breathing mold can cause things like:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Infection
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Chronic lung issues

Things To Check for During Swamp Cooler Maintenance

  • Look for visible mold on the pads. Even if it is not time to replace your pads, if you see mold, you need to replace them
  • Replace the pads according to the manufacturer recommended schedule, if not sooner.
  • Hose out the pan of the swamp cooler to clean out any debris that developed over the previous year.
  • If you see signs of mold anywhere on your cooler, thoroughly clean the cooler before turning it on.
  • Wet down the pads and rinse any dust and debris before you turn on the system.
  • Give your pads a sniff after they have been wet, if they smell moldy, they probably are, and it is time to get new ones.

Though doing a thorough mold check does take a little more effort, it is worth it for your health and the health of your pets.

If you notice your pets having any breathing issues, bring them in to your Albuquerque vet immediately for an evaluation. If they have had an allergic or asthma reaction, if addressed early enough it can prevent it from developing into a chronic condition.

Being Prepared for the Continued Quarantine

pets during quarantine

The quarantine continues. We are all in our houses and keeping distance from other humans. With every extension of the non-essential business shut down we are faced with the question of how much do we need to stock up. The first run on the grocery stores left many of us in a state of panic, especially when it came to getting toilet paper. As you plan your next trip to the store to stock up on essentials, make sure to properly budget for your pets needs as well.

Vetco Stock-Up Recommendations

  1. Food: You don’t want to run out of pet food. This sounds pretty obvious but you don’t want to have to switch pet food because your normal brand is not available. Switching up food can cause stomach upset including vomiting and diarrhea. We suggest buying 4 to 6 weeks worth of pet food. This will ensure that you have enough food to keep your pet on their regular diet. When you have 1 or 2 weeks supply left, start looking for your regular pet food. This will give you time to make sure you can find your normal brand. If you cannot find your normal brand you will want to get the new food in advance of running out so you can slowly switch the food with minimal stomach upset. Keep in mind you may have to order it online and many business are experiencing delays in shipping.
  2. Litter: It is better to over buy than under buy. If you run out of litter, not only will your cat likely start going to the bathroom on the floor, but if they continue to use old dirty litter they could get sick. You need to make sure your pet has clean fresh litter, so you need to make sure you have a supply of clean fresh litter. Safely buy 6 weeks to 2 months worth of litter. This way you have plenty, but in case your cat does have a tummy upset issue and is using the litter box more than usual, you will have plenty of litter in reserve.
  3. Potty inside: Not everyone has the ability to take their dogs out on walks now that we are in lock down. This can pose a bit problem in terms of where to let your dog use the restroom. If they have to start going inside, designate an area for them to use. You can get potty training pads, or some doggy astroturf and let them go there. If you don’t have either of those, you can always use newspaper. Make sure you clean it up after they use it so it doesn’t become a health hazard.

Things that Can Wait

We have been getting a lot of questions about annual vaccines during the business shut-down. These can wait. Unless you are doing your puppy shots or are in the middle of a series, your annual vaccines can wait until you can safely come in to our daily walk-in shot clinic.

Non essential surgeries can wait. If you need to get your pet spayed or neutered, this can wait. The only surgery you should be doing right now is emergency surgery.

Pet grooming can wait. If your pet has a particularly unruly coat, go to amazon and buy a good brush or comb. If it is too much to handle, you can shave your pet. We don’t normally recommend shaving as it is not that comfortable for your pet, but shaving is better than getting severe mats and hair clumps.

If you are not sure if you have an emergency situation with your pet, call the local emergency vet and ask them if you need to come in. It is better to call before showing up because they may be able to treat your pet over the phone.

Stay safe.