Frequently Asked Questions:
Wendy Mellberg-Haecker, Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs Operations Manager, answers some frequently asked questions about COVID-19:
1. Can COVID-19 infect my guide dog or pet?
COVID-19 is one of many viruses in the Coronavirus family. Corona viruses may infect dogs, cats, and humans, but almost none infect more than one host species. The current evidence shows that it is highly unlikely that Covid-19 infects dogs or cats. There is no reason to worry that your dog (or other pet) will become infected by, or transmit the Covid-19 virus.
2. Can I be infected with COVID-19 from my guide dog or pet?
While the current evidence shows that dogs and cats are unlikely to be infected with COVID-19, they may become a contaminated surface. For example, after walking outside with your dog, it is possible that COVID-19 droplets could have been picked up on your dog’s coat or feet. To avoid concern:
- After your walk, wash your outdoor clothes, wipe your dog down with a wet towel, then wash the towel with soap and water.
- Always remember to wash your hands after touching or grooming your pet, after feeding, and picking up their waste. This is good hygiene practice under any circumstances.
3. During a lockdown, what justifies a visit to the vet?
Veterinarians are considered an essential service during the lockdown, however, you will need to contact your veterinarian’s office to discuss the issue prior to arriving with your dog or cat. Clinics will advise whether the animal should be seen in person, and will provide you with instructions on what you will need to do when you arrive at the clinic.
4. Is Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs still operating? How do I get in contact?
Yes, we are still in operation, although in a limited capacity. Our breeding centre is operational with a small number of staff on site to care for our newest litters. You can also contact Guide Dogs during our normal business hours (8:30AM – 4:30PM) Monday through Friday at 0800 24 33 33.
5. If I get sick with COVID-19 what do I have to do to protect my guide dog or pet?
Please call your Guide Dogs key contact immediately if you become seriously ill or must be hospitalised and you have a guide dog, puppy, or breeding stock dog in your home. You may also want to notify a trusted family member or friend to care for your guide dog or pet if you become seriously ill or hospitalised.
6. What else do I have to think about as a handler, puppy raiser, boarder, breeding stock guardian or pet owner?
Please keep in touch with your Guide Dogs key contact if you have any questions about the dog in your care. We are also here to help in any way we can during this difficult time, so please don’t hesitate to call us at 0800 24 33 33 if your require support.