Can Dogs Catch COVID-19?
There have been two pooches in Hong Kong that showed positive results.
- The first pup had a very weakly positive result for COVID-19. After the owner contracted the disease, officials tested the Pomeranian, which was asymptomatic. Low levels of virus were detected on swabs from the animal’s nasal passages and mouth. However, follow-up serology was negative for blood antibody levels. It is possible that the dog picked up the organisms by breathing the owner’s infected respiratory droplets.
- More recently, a German Shepherd in the Pok Fu Lam area of Hong Kong tested positive. This pooch and another mixed-breed from the same household were placed under quarantine after their owner contracted the novel coronavirus. Results from the canines came back on March 19. The mutt was negative, and neither animal was showing any symptoms of illness.
- There are conflicting reports that either a third dog or a cat have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong as of March 30, 2020. Both sources report the pet was screened because its owner has the virus, but the animal is asymptomatic.
In addition to dogs, it appears cats may be able to pick up the virus. A cat in Liège, Belgium showed symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing a week after the owner contracted the virus. The cat tested positive for COVID-19. Veterinary officials continue to believe that the disease can not be spread from pets to their humans. However, there are questions as to whether we should be testing furbabies if their owners become infected.
What Does This Mean? Can We Pass Coronavirus to Our Dogs?
What Does Coronavirus Infection Look Like in a Dog?
COVID-19 is a novel form of a class of viruses called Coronaviruses. Even though this new micro-organism doesn’t appear to affect dogs, a few of the other varieties of this microbe can.
- Abdominal pain
- Sudden onset of diarrhea/loose stools that have a fetid odor
- Decreased appetite
Canine Respiratory Coronavirus
- Nasal discharge
- Pneumonia – usually due to co-infection with other pathogens
What Can I Do to Protect My Dog From Coronavirus Right Now?
- Avoid taking your pooch to gatherings with large crowds
- Keep your furbaby away from any infected individuals
- Practice good hygiene at home (more below)
- Have a pet preparedness plan in place (more below)
Can Our Dogs Pass Coronavirus to Us?
Can Dogs Carry the Virus on Their Fur?
Is It Safe to Pet My Dog/How Can I Pet My Dog During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
No Need to Panic
Should I Change My Behavior With My Dog Because of COVID-19?
- Wash Fido’s bedding regularly
- Wash your hands after feeding, playing with, or cleaning up after your pooch
- Store dry foods in an airtight container and refrigerate wet foods
- Wash food and water bowls regularly
- Wash toys and replace them when they become damaged
- Keep outdoor areas clean by picking up feces frequently
What Should I Do Differently With My Dog if I Have Coronavirus?
- If possible, plan for someone else to care for your special pal while you’re recovering.
- If you have no one to take your furbaby, wash hands before and after contact with Fido, and wear a facemask to keep your droplets to yourself.
- Avoid direct contact with pets – sadly that means no petting, snuggles, kisses, or sharing of food.
- Have a pet preparedness plan in place (see below).
Is It Okay to Take My Dog for Walks?
Is It Okay to Let My Dog Socialize With Other Dogs?
Will I Need to Quarantine My Dog?
- Keep them at home in a separate room from other animals and people
- Wash hands before and after handling or feeding them
- Consider wearing a facemask when you enter their room.
Pet Preparedness Plan in Case of Emergency
- Have a first-aid kit for dogs stocked and ready for emergencies and review basic first aid for pets regularly
- Have an adequate supply of food, medicines, and other products that you need to care for your pooch.
- Line up a trusted friend or family member who can look after your furbaby if you’re incapacitated.
- Have food, other supplies, and crates on hand in case you need to move your pup quickly.
- Keep your special pal up-to-date on all vaccinations required by your boarding facility.
- Prepare a document detailing all medications, dosing instructions, and prescription information.
- Make sure your pet has current identification including an ID tag for the collar and a microchip.
In the News: Dogs and Coronavirus Across the Globe
Pups May Join Frontlines in Battle Against Coronavirus
Durham University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are working with the charity Medical Detection Dogs to see if trained pooches can detect COVID-19. Some pooches from this charitable organization already help to detect cancer, malaria, and Parkinson’s disease in patients. If trials prove successful, pups could help identify potential carriers of the virus in public spaces and airports.
New Zealand Includes Canines in Social Distancing
In an effort to mitigate the risk of passing coronavirus through the vector of pet hair, New Zealand is requiring pets to stay in the “family bubble”. Owners can still walk their pooches, but they need to prevent contact with anyone outside of the household.
Fallout in China
Canine Quarantine in Italy?
Canine Coronavirus in Australia
- Any new animals entering the country
- Any greyhounds showing signs of disease
- Any greyhounds that contact infected animals
The information above is based on what we currently understand about COVID-19 and our dogs. We’ll update the article if new details regarding the virus come to light.