Chewy’s resident veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, of the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre in Alexandria, Virginia, took to our Instagram feed for a live chat to answer some of your most pressing questions about COVID-19 and pets, as well as offer up advice and wisdom on how to keep your pets happy and healthy during these unprecedented times.
Q: Can pets get/give COVID-19?
A: From what we know at this moment, the answer is no. There have been two dogs in China that were owned by people who had COVID-19 that cultured positive, but neither one of them showed any signs of illness.
Q: How do I know if my dog is getting sick of me?
A: I love this one. Well, I think we're all getting sick of each other, probably, and I think we have a lot more togetherness to come, so if he starts treating you like your cat, then you can be sure he's getting tired of you being around.
Q: If we run out of kibble, which are safe foods to feed my dog; no access to chicken either.
A: If you are running low, remember Chewy is always here. We are working 24 hours a day to get you all the supplies that you need for your pets.
Q: What’s the best thing I can do for my dog during social distancing?
A: Well, let's get this out there: dogs are terrible at social distancing, but that's OK. That's why we love them. I think the best thing you can do right now is spend some quality time with them, honestly. Cuddle the heck out of them. We're all nervous, we're all scared. And they're awesome at getting us through that.
Q: How can I stop my cats from urinating on my kitchen counter? We’ve tried everything.
A: Kitchen counter? Yowza! That's a tough one. Anytime a cat is inappropriately urinating, I recommend talking to your veterinarian just in case there is a UTI or any crystals or stones that you may need to address. So, give your vet a call on this one.
Q: Best training method for puppy biting?
A: Puppies bite for a couple of reasons. One might be because they're teething, so giving them something appropriate to chew on can help that; and also because it is part of play, so letting them know that it hurts and it's inappropriate—"Ouch!"—can actually help discourage them from doing it in the future.
Q: Potty training techniques for 10-week-old puppy?
A: Consistency is key for house training. When they eat, you go outside. When they drink, you go outside. When they wake up from a nap, you go outside. And praise them each and every time they go in their appropriate place—and soon enough, they'll pick up on it.
Q: My cat has been sneezing more often. Should I be concerned?
A: It is allergy season, so that could be something that's contributing to the sneezing. Or, it could be that your kitty has an upper respiratory infection, so I would actually call your veterinarian on this one. See if they want to examine your kitty or if they recommend doing something at home.
Q: My cat is breathing heavier than usual. Should I have her checked out?
A: Relatively short answer for this one: any time there's breathing difficulty, absolutely have them checked out. So definitely, 100 percent call your veterinarian on this one.
Q: Should we worry about separation anxiety when this is over?
A: I think we will see an increase in separation anxiety when this is all done. We are spending a lot more time at home with our pets. And just like kids—and us, frankly—pets thrive on routine, so unfortunately I think that we will.