As the pandemic continues, there is still a lot of uncertainty across the world, leaving many people with questions.
However, we’ll just be covering one of those questions today, which has been asked by many of us dog lovers. Are our precious pooches at risk of the novel coronavirus?
While the virus is well-documented within humans, it’s potential within dogs still requires a lot more research. You may have heard conflicting reports on whether it is possible for dogs to be infected or whether a dog can act as a carrier of the virus.
Today, we’re going to look past all that confusion, and look at the current scientific research on the matter.
So, let’s get started!
Can Dogs Contract the Coronavirus?
At the time of writing, it appears that it is possible that dogs can contract the coronavirus, although the risk of transmission is low.
There have been a few cases across the globe of dogs testing positive for the novel virus. This is usually believed to have been due to infected owners having close contact with their pets.
However, many of the pets who test positive are asymptomatic. A few have developed symptoms, but they have been mild. There have been no reported cases of a dog dying due to COVID-19.
You may have heard that a Pomeranian in Hong Kong died due to the virus, but this was wrongly reported. While the dog did originally test positive for the virus, it never developed symptoms.
After some time, it tested negative for coronavirus and was allowed to leave quarantine. Sadly, the dog died shortly after, due to what experts believe to be caused by the stress of being quarantined away from their owner for some weeks.
The poor pupper was also 17-years-old, which is believed to also have contributed.
To summarize, there is no evidence that coronavirus has been the cause of death for this Pomeranian or any other dog.
Can Dogs Pass the Coronavirus to Humans?
As it is possible for a dog to be infected with the coronavirus by humans, does this mean that dogs could potentially infect us?
It’s a possibility that requires a lot more research for a concrete answer. However, the WHO currently states that there is no evidence that dogs can pass the virus on to humans.
Many cases of the coronavirus in humans can be traced back to contact with a sick person, rather than with an infected animal.
Therefore, you do not need to be too concerned about catching the coronavirus from pets. However, it is still recommended to follow good hygiene practices around animals, as always.
How Can I Best Care for My Dog During the Pandemic?
Now that we have a better idea of the potential risks of coronavirus in dogs, how can we ensure that our dogs are kept safe?
As the risk of transmission from humans to pets is thought to be low, there is no reason to panic. However, there are some simple practices that you could follow to ensure their safety.
The CDC recommends keeping your dog under the same social distancing rules that are applied to humans. This means that you should:
- Disallow your pets from interacting with other people or animals outside of the household.
- Walk your dog on a leash, keeping them at least 2 meters from other animals or people.
- Avoid dog parks or large gatherings of people.
Following these guidelines will help keep the risk of your dog contracting the novel virus to an absolute minimum.
In the case that you become sick, you should restrict all contact with your dog along with self-isolating. If it’s possible, ask a family member or friend to care for your dog while you are sick.
If this isn’t an option, wear a face mask around your dog at all times and do not go in for the pets and kisses! It’s going to be tough for the both of you, but it’s for the best!
Finally, if your dog becomes sick during or after you have been infected with the virus, do not take them to the vet, as you risk exposing more animals to the virus. Instead, ring your vet and tell them that you have been sick, and they will tell you your next steps forward.
While this is understandably a worrying time, by following the guidelines set out by the CDC and the WHO we can keep ourselves and our pets safe from significant risk involving the new coronavirus.
The social distancing measures are tough to deal with, but it is for our safety. By following them we will reduce the spread and therefore, reduce the overall risk across the country. Which is the best possible thing we could be doing for our pets!
I recommend that you stay up-to-date with the current research and guidelines given by the CDC and the WHO. Here are some relevant links for more information on the topic that will be updated if anything changes:
- COVID-19 and Animals
- If You Have Pets
- Questions and Answers on the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public: Myth Busters
Myself and everyone at FitBark wish you all the best during this time. Thank you for reading!