Given the current increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the community, the standard advice for self-isolation is to stay at home in your house, and this is the default position that should be followed.
You should make arrangements in advance with friends, family or neighbours, which can be put in place if the need arises, to ensure that all animals you are responsible for continue to be cared for.
There is limited evidence of companion or other animals becoming sick with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), and currently there is no evidence that they play a significant role in this human disease.
It is recommended that those who have COVID-19, or are displaying symptoms, should restrict contact with pets and wash their hands thoroughly before and after interacting with their pet or feeding wildlife.
Specific guidance for ferret owners
- if you, or your household, are required to self-isolate, your ferret must also isolate. This is because there may be a link between ferrets and the transmission of new strains of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). If you are self-isolating for COVID-19, ask someone else to care for your ferrets. Otherwise you should always wear a facemask and gloves, avoid kissing and cuddling the animals, make sure you wash your hands and limit the time spent with animals.
- your ferret should isolate for three weeks (21 days) and must not be allowed out of your household, unless in a veterinary emergency.
- people with pet ferrets do not need to isolate for three weeks (21 days) and can complete their regular isolation period. However, their ferret must stay indoors until their specific three week (21 day) isolation period is complete.
Travel with ferrets
- for those planning to travel into Scotland, you should check the current travel corridor list to see whether you need to isolate for 14 days. You will still be required to abide by the restrictions set out on gov.scot once in Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/.
- if you are returning from a country not currently on the list of travel corridors with a pet ferret, your ferret will need to isolate for 3 weeks (21 days). This is because there may be a link between ferrets and the transmission of new strains of SARS-CoV-2.
- people with pet ferrets do not need to isolate for three weeks (21 days) and can complete their regular 14 day isolation period.
If you are self-isolating and need help caring for animals
If you are too unwell to care for your animals and do not have anyone nearby who can help, for further advice and support please phone:
- for pets and companion animals – the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999
- for livestock – the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution on 0300 111 4166 (7 am - 11 pm)