Can my dog get coronavirus (COVID-19)? All your pet coronavirus questions answered.
Our dogs are vital parts of our households. And as beloved family members, it’s only natural that more people are asking: are pets at risk from coronavirus? And could they be implicated in the spread of this infection?
The good news is that the answer to these questions is “no” and “no”, and there is no reason to change daily routines with pets while people remain healthy and symptom-free.
The term “coronavirus” defines a broad family (type) of viruses which have been around for a long time, some of which only affect dogs and cats. Dog and cat coronaviruses are different from COVID-19 and cannot infect people. Unfortunately, due to the similar name, these terms may appear in historical articles or online forums, and this can cause unnecessary confusion, panic or concern.
Being prepared and informed is one of the best things you can do in any situation – for your dog, for you and everybody. There’s a lot of misinformation circulating about COVID-19 and dogs at the moment. Here, we’ll address common concerns to ensure you have all the essential information on COVID-19, and what this means for you and your pupper.
Q1- Can my dog get the coronavirus?
When it comes to your pets, according to the World Health Organization and veterinary experts, you likely don’t have to worry about spreading it to your furry friends.
Although there is no current evidence that suggests the coronavirus can be transmitted to or from companion animals, it’s always a good idea to follow basic hygiene practices around animals. This includes washing your hands thoroughly throughout the day and before and after direct contact with your pets, their food or their supplies.
Recently in Hong Kong, there were proactive and precautionary measures to quarantine the pets of people who were diagnosed with COVID-19. In February, one of these pets, a healthy dog, had a small amount of viral genetic material that was detected in the dog’s mouth and nose. The dog did not get sick and did not have COVID-19 illness or sickness, but this single case sparked discussion across the globe. There have been no further cases reported via the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) to date.
The good news is that this dog is not contagious to people or pets, and there is no evidence that pets are directly involved in the spread of COVID-19.
Q2- How should I continue walking my dog?
If you haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate, then continue to interact with your dog as usual, but adopt good hygiene practices including washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after walks, touching them, their food, toys and bedding.
Essentially, it’s about exercising caution depending on your situation. If you decide to take your dog on a walk, be mindful to stay away from busy areas and practice the social distancing guideline of 1.5 metres away from the next person.
Q3- If I have the coronavirus or am exhibiting symptoms, can I still interact with my dog?
Although there have not been further reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with the virus, it is still recommended that people infected with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
If you are exhibiting symptoms, tested positive or you’re waiting to hear back results, experts recommend you should avoid interaction with your dog to prevent virus spreading to others. The Centre of Disease Control in the USA recommends the following: “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people.” This is especially important if you live with other people who are interacting with your dog, as you might spread the virus through your dog’s fur if you’re playing with them, even though the dog cannot pass on the virus directly.
If possible, arrange for another person to care for your dog during self-isolation. Think about designating an emergency caregiver – someone who could help with short or long-term care in the event you are unable to care for your dog. Consider a relative, friend, neighbour or even a dog hotel. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask.
If you have any concerns about your dog or if they show signs of ill health, do not visit the vet but phone for advice. As you will be unable to take your pet to the vet yourself, have a plan so that someone else can do this on your behalf.
Q4- How could I prepare for a possible lockdown?
The ASPCA advises “emergency kits” that include a 30-day supply of pets’ medications, as well as at least two weeks’ worth of food and other supplies, including hygiene products. Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification info: pet name, telephone number and urgent medical needs.
As businesses start to close or shift to work-from-home schedules temporarily and local governments encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, more pet owners are finding themselves inside for long periods with their dogs and without the usual access to doggy daycares, dog walking services and more.
But just because you and your dog are social distancing, that doesn’t mean your canine has to lose mobility. Here are a few things you can do to pass the time and help your dog from getting cabin fever at home.
- Get them sniffing. Scent work can be a great way to keep them busy for ages. Hide treats around the garden or the house and send them off in search of them.
- Learning a new trick or command is excellent mental stimulation for a dog. Get out their favourite treats and try teaching them how to wave their paw, ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, or ‘roll-over’.
- Spotify has recently launched My Dog’s Favourite Podcast which has a range of carefully selected spoken word, sound and original music designed to encourage relaxation.
- Play! Dogs love to play, so set aside some time to have a good game of fetch or tug with your pooch.
As for Lyka, we’ll be keeping things business-as-usual online so that you can have a gentle and much-welcomed normality-break between the news updates that are flooding our screens and homes.
You can rest assured that we are business as usual and we’re still delivering our food boxes as normal, whilst our team is following strict hygiene practices. Lyka has convenient home deliveries, so you don’t need to worry about going to supermarket. Build a box today!
Lastly, keep healthy, love your people, love your pets and most importantly, stay kind to one another.