Why social distancing should apply to your pets too

Veterinarians say, yes, social distancing should apply to your pets, too.

As Minnesotans navigate what they can do during current coronavirus restrictions, many have asked if social distancing is important for pets.

Experts say the answer is yes, even though the animals cannot contract the disease.

“If somebody who is positive for coronavirus, if they were to cough on their dog, or cough on their hands and they are petting their dog, could then someone else come up to that pet and touch those same areas and potentially get those same particles on their hands. That’s a possibility,” said Kara Nelsen, of BluePearl Veterinary Partners.

Nelsen says BluePearl vets are wearing protective gear when an ill pet comes in and they come out of the building to meet the owner. If an owner has any signs of COVID-19, the pet is immediately bathed before the exam.

In order to practice social distancing, veterinary clinics across the area are no longer allowing pet owners into their offices.

Instead, staff comes out of the building before and after every appointment.

“I think it’s definitely difficult, especially for new clients,” said Dr. Abigail Maynard, of St. Paul Pet hospital. “That’s a big part of what we do. We are still able to meet that. We have a lot of telecommunication. You can Skype us if you need, you can send us pictures, we talk to you on the phone.”

BluePearl says the coronavirus should not impact how you pick up after your dog. They added, if you pass by a dog, and can’t resist the temptation to give him or her a quick pet, make sure to wash your hands afterwards.