COVID-19 and Your Exotic Pet

In the midst of this health crisis, our lives have been turned inside out, and we are all just trying to maintain normalcy. Given the craziness we are all experiencing right now, our pets are a source of comfort for us, but we fear for their health, as well as for our own. I am happy to report that to date, no exotic animals have fallen ill with COVID-19. That said, animals can carry the virus on their fur, feathers, and skin if they are touched by infected individuals. Therefore, if you contract the virus, or you have relatives or friends who have, you or they should not handle your pet, and you should not handle their pets.

In addition, since we are all busy trying to disinfect our homes and personal items, be careful not to spray aerosols or use bleach near your birds, in particular, as their respiratory tracts are especially sensitive to aerosolized chemicals. There is no need to disinfect your pet’s cage with anything other than soap and water. Just as you are supposed to wash your hands for 20 seconds, wash down cage surfaces with soapy water for the same amount of time. Just be sure to get off all the soap before you allow your pet back into the cage. Ideally, thoroughly clean your pet’s cage at least once a week to keep it from building up discarded food and excrement.

Finally, with every one stuck at home, there might be more traffic and noise in your house than usual. Just like people, pets are used to routines that may be upset with additional individuals in the house. Do your best to maintain your pet’s usual schedule of eating, sleeping, and socializing so that your pet can stay happy and healthy with you.

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