When you're being told forcibly by landlords and neighbours to put out your four-legged familymembers, it's natural to feel helpless and devoid of options. But there is an option. You can fight theirfear and ignorance with facts.
The facts are that while the novel coronavirus, like other coronaviruses, causes a zoonotic disease called COVID-19, meaning it's a disease transmitted from animals to humans, it is not and cannot be transmitted to us from our pets.
Virologists and infectious disease experts from the University of Pittsburg Medical Center and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine have debunked the notion as scientists have found zero cases of the virus spreading in pet or farm animals.
The Center for Disease Control in the United States also supports this, stating: "there is no evidence that a dog or other pets can contract or spread the disease among themselves or humans."
While there are some canine and feline coronaviruses that can make your pet sick, these cannot infect people and have never shown any indication or doing so. Most importantly, these are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak in any way.
If you're going by the World Health Organization's warnings to be careful and not come in open contact with live animal markets, it's important to understand and differentiate between those markets and your pets at home.
There are definitely some diseases like tapeworm or roundworm which farm and pet animals can spread people, so it's always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene.
However, you can only contract such a disease if your pet has worms and you've come in direct contact with their excrement through handling, stepping, inhaling or consumption. And if your pet is sick with roundworm or tapeworm, it's because you've been remiss as a pet parent and haven't gotten them their required shots.
All in all, as pet owners, we're able to control the environment we keep our pets in, their cleanliness, health and what they eat. If we're invested pet owners, there's no reason for our furry friends to fall sick and therefore potentially make us sick. If we're not, that's a whole other story.
So the next time someone (like a landlord/ neighbor/ family member/ friend) comes up to you to tell you to put your pet out of your home, explain to them why they're wrong. Insist on educating because the only way other than washing your hands, maintaining physical distance and self-quarantining that
you can fight and overcome COVID-19 is to pass on the facts and defeat the rumours.
We need our pets right now more than anything. The mental and emotional support we get from them is key to our wellbeing as we self-quarantine. So hug those furry babies close and don't let anyone tell you to do otherwise.