As a pet owner, you’ve probably had plenty of questions around what you can and can’t do during the Covid-19 times.  We’ve outlined our thoughts in the latest publication of Indulge and below.

First and foremost, we recommend caring for your pets as you normally would. Our pets can often sense when we are feeling stressed, sad or frightened, so it’s important to make sure they are being looked after too. Below we answer some questions you may have as a pet owner and also provide some tips to make this time easier. Picking up the phone and talking to the staff at your vet clinic is your next step, should you have further concerns or questions.

Is my vet clinic still open?
Yes. Veterinary services are considered to be an essential service, so during the lockdown period, there’s no need to worry. Vets and Vet Nurses are still ready and able to help you and your animals. Operating hours may have changed slightly, some services will not be deemed essential so may not be able to be performed at this current time. Expect things to operate slightly differently too. At Tauranga, Te Puna, Katikati and Papamoa Village Vets we are practicing contactless consults. This involves dropping your pet to our front door, our staff attending to your pet while you wait in your car and chatting to our Vet or Vet Nurse over the phone. We are also offering video consults if you prefer to stay in your home. We recommend talking things through with your vet clinic’s staff when making your appointment, so you know exactly what to expect.

Vets continue to be available to you after hours during the lock down period. It is a regulation that they provide this service.

Can I still buy my pet’s special foods, medications and treatments?
Your Vet can still provide you with everything you need to keep your pet healthy during this time. Talk to your Vet or Vet Nurse about how best to do this.

Walking my dog
Getting out into the fresh air with your pooch is one of the best things you can do right now, however Tauranga City council advise that during the lockdown to keep your dog on a leash – even in areas where they would normally be off-leash. Remember your dog is part of your bubble, so they shouldn’t be interacting with dogs from other bubbles. If they get too close, it is possible that Covid-19 droplets have been passed between them.  Also, not everyone appreciates being approached by dogs, especially when we’re all trying to maintain a safe distance from each other.

Stick to a routine
Most of us are spending the vast majority of our day at home, something our pets will most likely be finding just wonderful. However this new ‘normal’ may throw us some curveballs. We recommend sticking to a routine as much as possible and do things you would normally do at the normal time. Feed them at the same time during the day, take your dog for bathroom breaks and walks at the usual time, also make sure your pet still has it’s safe space where they can go to relax if they want some alone time.

A great time to play and train
Now is the ideal time to train your dog – with a bit more time on your hands than usual you may find yourself more patient. If you want to tire your pet out without taking them for a walk, mental training is also the perfect solution. And don’t forget to fit in extra play – playing is an outlet for normal behaviour and helps strengthen your bond with your pet, whether it’s a game of tug and war in the garden with your dog or playing with a wand/string/ball with your cat – they will love you for the extra attention.

What if I become sick?
Official advice from the New Zealand Veterinary Association is that if you are self-isolating to keep your pets with you. If you are under medical attention for Covid-19 or are found to have Covid-19, that you should arrange for another person to care for your animal. It is also a good idea to make a care plan for your animals, should you become sick, including who would look after your animals, making sure you have at least two weeks worth of food stocked, making sure all your pet’s medications are documented as well as making a list of useful contact details such as your vet and pet insurance provider.

Can my pet get Covid-19?
Currently, there is no evidence that animals can infect humans with Covid-19. This includes transmission via the skin or fur of pets. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it is recommended pet owners interact with your pets as normal but continue good hygiene practices including washing hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after touching them, their food, toys and bedding.

Tauranga, Te Puna, Katikati and Papamoa Village Vets remain open during the Covid-19 lock down period. We have implemented measures to make sure all of our clients and staff remain safe. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment on 0800 838 7267.