Can Dogs Get Coronavirus?
In early March 2020, it was declared by the World Health Organization that coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a global pandemic. The spread of the virus created a lot of panic as people were not only worried about their health but the health of their dogs and any other pets they may have. Dog owners usually have a huge question in their mind: can dogs contract coronavirus?
Dogs can get infected by coronavirus, mostly the canine respiratory coronavirus. This specific coronavirus is not deadly for dogs, but they can get positive for the virus. There are very few dogs worldwide that have reported positive for coronavirus and most of these were in contact with people who were covid positive. A pug in North Carolina was thought to be the first case of a dog being tested positive for coronavirus. However, later on it was figured out that the dog was not infected but three members from the same house were.
Two dogs in Hong Kong were tested positive for coronavirus and both of these dogs lived with people who were infected. Local health officials declared it to be a human-to-animal transmission case. Neither of these dogs showed no symptoms of the novel virus. Even though dogs may get infected but the chances are less. Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department conducted tests on 8 cats and 17 dogs and only 2 dogs tested positive. This revealed that dogs are not easily infected and they do not play a role in spreading the virus.
Care Your Pet If You Are In Quarantine
If you are sick due to coronavirus (either confirmed by a test or suspected), you should limit your contact with dogs or any other pets as you would do with any human being. Until the world finds out more about this virus, people are advised to avoid contact with their pets if they are infected. Even if you are maintaining a distance, make sure they get their food on time. It would be great if you have a house member who could take over for a few days but make sure that you give this responsibility to someone who is trustworthy.
If you are infected and if your pet is not feeling well, do not take your pet to the veterinarian by yourself. Call the veterinarian and let him know that you are covid positive.Some veterinarians offer telemedicine consultation or they may have some other plan. Veterinarians are experts so they will evaluate your pet and then they will decide the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care. There is no evidence that pet furs or hair can spread the virus, so you are not required to bathe or wipe your pets with hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, disinfectants or any other products like counter-cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, or any other surface or industrial cleaner. Even though pets do not play a role in spreading the virus yet if you maintain a safe distance from them, you could protect them from getting infected.
Do I Need To Protect My Dog?
People who have healthy pets should follow the basic hygiene precautions like washing their hands with soap prior to and after interacting with their dog or any other pet. If you have been tested positive for coronavirus or if you think that you have been exposed to the virus then it is expected that you follow the guidelines provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for pet care:
- While you are sick, ask another member of your house to look after your pet whenever it is possible.
- If you are the only one who can take care of your pet while you are sick then make sure you wear a mask. Also, do not forget to wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
- Avoid contact with your pet including sharing food, petting, snuggling, being licked or kissed, sleeping in the same bed, etc.
To reduce the spread of germs, it is recommended that you wipe your pet’s feet and furs whenever they come in or go outside of the house. You can use any grooming wipes for this. Dogs do not require a mask to protect themselves from coronavirus. It is also recommended that you stay healthy around animals which includes practicing good pet hygiene and cleaning them up properly. You can consult your veterinarian if there are any confusions. The most important part of protecting your dogs is making sure that you do not abandon them due to coronavirus fear.
Can I Take My Dog To Park?
Mental and physical exercises are extremely important for your dogs as they help in controlling the anxiety in your dog. However, before you take your dog for a walk, make sure you check the local regulations and abide by stay-home orders if there are any. If your area does not restrict it then you can take your dogs for a walk on a daily basis. Make sure you are in accordance with the CDC guideline which include:
- Wearing a face mask that will cover your mouth and nose.
- Walking dogs on a leash while maintaining a minimum of six feet distance from people and other animals.
- Avoiding public places or dog parks where a large number of people may be present.
You do not have to go for a walk whenever your dog is feeling bored, have a schedule instead. You are required to set the schedule keeping in view the curfew timings. Practice social distancing by choosing a place that is less crowded. If you live in a crowded city then choose a less busy time or take your dog to a block that has less traffic. Pet owners are suggested to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before and after the walk.