Keeping pets healthy during the pandemic

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Posted at 9:56 AM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 23:03:47-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Pet adoption rates have soared across the country during the pandemic.

According to a survey from Mars Petcare released in November, 30% percent of pet owners got a new pet at some point over the past year.

Since February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, the Animal Health Institute wants to make sure all those pets are being properly cared for.

One concern from veterinarians is that people may skip routine check-ups in order to avoid being around people.

Veterinarian Dr. Will McCauley says pet owners should still be visiting the vet at least once a year.

"Many vet clinics throughout the country have put the right protocols in place to keep you and your pets safe during the pandemic. A lot of them are doing curbside appointment offerings that you need to take advantage of," said McCauley.

As part of pets' routine care, owners also need to stay on top of vaccinations.

"Vaccinations are a very important part of pet care. They are a safe, proven way to protect animals from a variety of diseases like parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough and even some zoonotic diseases that they can transmit to us like rabies," said McCauley.

Heartworm, flea and tick preventatives also need to be maintained throughout the year.

Another concern brought on by the pandemic - some pets may not be properly socialized as puppies.

Related: Doctors say pets should also practice social distancing to prevent spread of COVID-19

To avoid behavior issues, McCauley says to try to get your pet around other animals if possible.

"If you are able to go out to a dog park and you're able to socially distance but allow your dog to associate with other dogs, that's not a bad idea, but always keep your own health in mind as well," said McCauley.

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