fbpx

COVID19 & your pets: Can dogs get the coronavirus?

Are you safe with your pet? Can dogs get the coronavirus?

Breaking April 21st, 2020, the United States recorded its first case of Covid-19 in pets. The patients here were two pet cats. These two animals are living miles apart though in New York and have had absolutely no contact at all. This new report raised the question, “can dogs get coronavirus?

Coronaviruses, not particularly Covid-19 have thrived in animals for thousands of years, just very few of them have been transmitted to humans. SARS-CoV-2, the scientific name for Covid-19, is a new player in the game. This new virus was declared a global pandemic by the WHO early march. As of April 22nd, over 2.5 million people have contracted the virus, and most animals aren’t exempted from this menace.

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus? 

Yes and No, keep reading to get why. Before the two cats recorded above, a Malayan tiger in New York tested positive for the virus. Three lions and three other tigers have also tested positive to this virus in the same zoo, thus raising the question, “can animals transmit the virus?

Outside the United States, two dogs and a cat in Hong Kong, and a cat in Belgium all tested positive to Covid-19. You have your answer. Yes, dogs can get covid-19. To avoid panic and fear, keep reading to learn more.

Cats with the virus have shown mild to moderate symptoms, dogs on the other hand, who have tested positive to the virus, have shown little or no signs of the illness, making them less prone to having the virus. The other big cats to have gotten the epidemic have shown dry cough,

can-dogs-get-coronavirus-man-disinfecting
Disinfecting a tiger cage rumored to have the Covid-19

which is one of the first stages of the virus but have maintained their regular eating habits and breathing patterns. The coughing nevertheless has greatly reduced.

Among all the animals to have this virus, cats have proven to be more prone to contracting the virus, and dogs are less susceptible, while domestic animals like pigs, chickens, and ducks have proven immune to the virus. 

Primates, on the other hand, are very prone to having the virus.  As of March 25th, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department carried out a test on eight cats and seventeen dogs from households with proven records of the virus, and just two dogs came out positive, leading to the conclusion that “Dogs and Cats are not easily affected by the SARS-CoV-2.”

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus From Humans? 

For a virus strongly rumored to have originated from animals (Horsehoe bats), it is likely a cliche to ask if humans can spread it to animals, but the answer to the above question is Yes. As at the time of writing this article, animals can’t spread the virus amongst each other or to humans, but humans to animals are possible.

Covid-19 is spread through infected droplets produced from coughs, sneezes, or while speaking by a carrier. So an infected person who fondles with a pet, its food tray, etc. can result in the animal getting the virus.

Is It Safe To Pet My Dog? 

The Covid-19 can survive on most smooth surfaces, door handles, and tables, for example. It is also said it can last for hours to a day in air or laboratory settings. The possibility of it surviving on animals’ fur is low, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The reason being that “Porous materials, such as pet fur, tend to absorb and trap pathogens, making it harder to contract them through touch” – Golab (AVMA’s Chief Veterinary officer) said.

To be on the safer side, Dr. Jerry Klein of the AKC says, “general practice of washing our hands after touching our dogs or puppy – that’s normal hygiene.

Nevertheless, the Centre for Disease Control has stipulated some guidelines for pet owners.

  1. Since social distancing is the best bet to avoid getting the virus, and this involves isolation with your household, pets are part of this and shouldn’t be allowed to interact with other people and animals outside the house.
  2. Cats, most especially, should stay indoors to avoid close contact with any other person or animal.

Can I Walk My Dog? 

If your local regulation allows, then you should. Mental and physical exercises are essential for both you and your dog. Nevertheless, sticking to the social distancing rule should be observed every time. You also need to be mindful of the dog’s personality.

can-dogs-get-coronavirus-boy-walking-dog
A man taking his dog for a walk while observing the social distancing rule.
  • Walk your dogs but on a leash, maintaining a six feet distance from other people and animals.
  • Avoid locations, most especially dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs will be.
  • Do not or allow your dogs to touch or play with any other dog, not a member of your household and avoid people playing with your dogs too.
  • After each walk, you should wash your hands with running water and soap for over 20seconds and should sanitize your leash also to be on the safer side.
  • Preferably, walk around with the recommended pocket sanitizer.

How Do I Protect My Dog From Covid-19?

Basic hygiene is the obvious answer; observing the rules above is the next. If you have tested positive for the virus or have come in contact with an infected person, the following guidelines are advised.

  1. Try as much as to avoid close contact with any of your pets. Snuggling, petting, kissing or being kissed, being licked, sharing of food, and bedding should be completely ruled out.
  2. If possible, let another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  3. If you can’t observe the rules above when around your animals, wear a cloth face mask or cover, wash your hands before and after interacting with your pets.
can-cats-get-coronavirus-man-walking-dog
A man wearing a mask and dealing with his pet.

Wiping your pet’s fur and feet when they come in or out of the house will help reduce germs. Dogs do not need a face mask to protect them from the SARs-CoV-2.

Like the Tiger in Bronx Zoo (above), the was nobody hugging or bedding the tiger. “Though not yet confirmed, the tiger or lions likely got the virus from contaminated food or bowl,” – Terio said.

It just shows that this virus is transmissible from people to animals, and it doesn’t have to be close, prolonged licking-your-face contact,” – Weese said.

Is The Anything Like Dog Coronavirus Vaccine? 

For now, there isn’t any vaccine for Covid-19 for both humans and animals.

Scientists are more concerned about tackling the virus in humans, and this is logical because pets, most especially dogs, seldom contract the virus.

Covid-19 is one of many species in the family of coronaviruses known to man. Other species of coronaviruses cause several diseases in animals.

Puppies have a vaccine for a type of coronavirus called Canine Coronavirus. This vaccine doesn’t protect dogs from Covid-19.

Should I Test My Dog For Covid-19?

Yes, but USDA, CDC, AVMA, and others have advised you shouldn’t since Covid-19 pose minimal risks to dogs and other pets. In cases where you suspect your pet has contracted the virus, you should contact your veterinarian, who has guided steps on what to do next.

can-cats-get-coronavirus-cats-covid-19-test
A cat taking a Covid-19 test

Conclusion 

Covid-19 is mostly transmitted from humans to animals. The possibility of your dog or any other pet contracting the virus is minimal. While taking your dog for walks, a leash will suffice, maintain a six feet distance from other pet owners and their pets.

Can dogs get the coronavirus? The answer is yes, maybe. In cases where you suspect to have the virus, you should practice great distancing from your pet, and if this isn’t possible, you should observe the guideline stipulated above.  So far, the isn’t a vaccine to protect your dog from Covid-19. Carrying out tests on your pet is not advised. Thank you for reading.

READ ALSO

Leave a comment