In the midst of all the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, what about our pups? Can dogs get Coronavirus?
What Does This Mean? Can We Pass Coronavirus to Our Dogs?
What About Cats...Can They Get COVID-19?
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)
CDC Guidelines for Pet Owners
On April 27, the CDC updated guidelines for pet owners on. The change was due to positive test results in two domestic cats in New York and eight large cats in the Bronx Zoo. Although Dr. Sandra Newbury, director of the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin believes that it’s probably much harder for a dog to become infected than a cat, she affirms that following these procedures, “during this time is the best way to keep your pets safe.” The CDC recommends:
- Keeping cats indoors
- Including your pooch in your family’s 6 foot social distancing bubble
- Walking your furbaby on a leash
- Avoiding dog parks and other places where groups of people gather
- Avoid snuggling, sharing bedding, petting, sharing food, and being licked by your pal
- Arrange for another family member to care for your pup if you become ill
- If you have no one else to help with your pets when you’re sick, wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after interacting with them.
The FDA Recommends Social Distancing for Pets
- Keeping cats indoors
- Walking your dog on a leash and including him in your 6 foot social distance bubble from other dogs and people
- Avoiding dog parks
Can Our Dogs Pass Coronavirus to Us?
In addition to this, Dr. Howe told Marketwatch, “At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States.”
However, you may still be asking:
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
How Will Social Distancing Affect My Dog’s Behavior?
Some owners are reporting behavioral changes in their pups during the shelter-in-place orders. If you usually leave the house during the day to go to work, your constant presence may impact your pooch. The adjustments will depend on your pooch’s personality. Possible actions include:
- Hyperactivity or agitation
- Becoming clingy
If Fido is having trouble adjusting to the “new normal” try to give him some space and alone time unelss he wants to stay by your side.
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?
Should I Put a Mask or Booties on My Dog?
You’ve probably seen pictures of dogs wearing pet masks or booties, but it’s not necessary. From what we can observe, the virus passes between people by their respiratory droplets. There are better things to spend your money on than a facial covering for Fido that will probably make him nervous and uncomfortable.
Do I Need to Have My Dog Tested?
The CDC does not recommend testing of pets. However, due to public demand, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. in Maine announced on April 20 that it would make a pet test for COVID-19 available to veterinarians. The roll out will start in North America and eventually spread to the world. Based on guidelines, animals eligible for testing must meet the following criteria:
- The attending veterinarian has consulted with a public health official
- The pet lives be in a home with a COVID-19 infected or positive patient
- The animal has already tested negative for common rule-out diseases
- The pet must have clinical signs of COVID-19
What If My Dog Gets Sick While I’m in Quarantine?
If you’re not infected but following stay-at-home orders and Fido gets sick, call your veterinarian (some clinics are turning to virtual healthcare to make it easier for dog parents). If your pal’s doctor advises you to bring him in, follow their procedures. In our town, clinics are still open but taking extra precautions. Office workers are meeting people at cars and taking Fido into the buildings while owner waits in parking lot.
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
Report from Market Data Analytics
Cairo Clinic Launches Internet Campaign Against Abandoning Pets
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.