Tips for safely taking care of your pets during the coronavirus pandemic

Luckily, animals don't need to adhere to social distancing rules (Photo: Shutterstock)

The RSPCA is encouraging pet owners to think about how they will care for their animals when they stay at home, self isolating or suffering suspected symptoms of coronavirus.

RSPCA animal welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines, said, “There’s no evidence to suggest pets can be carriers of coronavirus or become ill from it themselves.

“We would urge pet owners not to panic and not abandon their pets. The latest social distancing advice does not have a huge impact on pet owners.

“But dog walkers do need to follow government advice and keep two metres away from others while they are out for a stroll.”

Social distancing tips for keeping your pets and family safe

Always adopt good hygiene practices and thoroughly wash your hands after interacting with your pets such as rabbits, rodents, birds and reptiles.

- Avoid being kissed or licked and sharing food with your pet- Ensure you have supplies of pet food and medication in case you need to stay at home- Enjoy dog walks, but keep two metres away from other people- Speak to your vet or doctor for more advice

Additional guidance for people staying at home with suspected coronavirus

- Limit contact with pets and other animals while you are sick- Do not go on dog walks, instead exercising your dog in the garden or ask a friend or relative to help. A dog walker or boarder may also be able to help- Ask friends to care for livestock and horses- If you feel unwell, ask friends or a boarder to take your pets to be looked after

If you have any concerns about your pet, or your pet shows signs of ill health, do not visit the vet but phone for advice. As you will be unable to take your pet to the vet yourself, have a plan so someone else can do this on your behalf.

You can browse the online RSPCA shop for toys and food games to keep your pets entertained.