UK’s best-loved national pet charities and experts join forces to offer advice to help owners care for their animals and each other.
The coalition is concerned about conflicting and poor information which is leaving owners confused and anxious and animals potentially at risk.
The group has produced a series of colourful graphics giving tips and advice on how to look after your pets while you protect yourself, how to care for pets while social distancing or in self-isolation and how to help others look after their animals.
The group are urging pet-owners to share the easy to understand graphics across their networks. These will be also posted on the organisations’ websites – so owners get good, clear advice.
Chris Laurence, chair of the Canine and Felines Sector Group, said: “We are concerned that rapidly changing and conflicting information and leaving pet owners confused and worried. Those of us who work with animals are concerned that this information could leave animals at risk as pets could end up abandoned by anxious families unsure if they pose a risk or how they can care for them in isolation.
“We have come together to reassure people that there is no evidence that pets can get sick from coronavirus so not to panic or worry. We have also written some clear and simple tips about how to continue to care for them through the crisis.
“Like many others, the animal welfare sector is facing huge strain, with reduced staffing, loss of volunteers and pressure on resources. We need to reassure owners with good advice so they can continue to look after their pets, and this will help to prevent rescue centres being overwhelmed at this challenging time.
“Pets are a big part of our families and it is important to make sure they stay happy and healthy during these difficult times. Isolation for us can mean some big changes for our pets and they won’t understand why. We hope this advice will help owners help their pets, while looking after themselves too.”
Dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA animal welfare expert added: “In times of crisis many of us turn towards our pets for comfort and this is no different. Millions of us share our homes with dogs and cats and greatly value the companionship and questions from owners who want to make sure they know how best to provide for their pet’s health and happiness. We are delighted to have been able to work with others to produce this much needed guidance.”
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Chief Executive, Claire Horton CBE said: “There’s a huge amount of information and advice on the Battersea website and our dedicated staff have set up a behaviour support phone line. We can do plenty to enrich and entertain our much-loved pets while remaining safe, healthy and responsible and I’d urge all pet owners to remain calm and, on the support, available.”