UK 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 organisers involved include: ABTC (Animal Behaviour and Training Council), ADCH (Association of Dogs and Cats Homes, Battersea, Blue Cross, BSAVA (British Small Animals Vet Association), BVA (British Vet Association) Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, PFMA, (Pet Food Manufacturing Organisation) PIF, (Pet Industry Federation) RSPCA, Scottish SPCA, Canine and Feline Sector Group and The Kennel Club.
Resulting in 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.
Chris Laurence, chair of the Canine and Feline Sector Group, said: “We are concerned that rapidly changing and conflicting information was 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 this crisis.”
He added: “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 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. ”
Battersea’s chief executive, Claire Horton, concluded: “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 call on the support available.”