Since this article was published there have been additional updates. You can find an up-to-date article here: https://fluentwoof.com/dogs-coronavirus-covid-19/
As COVID-19 continues to spread, many pet parents are beginning to worry about coronavirus in dogs.
Can your dog get infected? Can a coronavirus-positive dog infect you? What should you do to keep both your pup and yourself safe and healthy?
To answers these and related questions, here are a few fast facts and recommendations about coronavirus in dogs, courtesy of our friends at Banfield Pet Hospital.
CAN DOGS GET CORONAVIRUS?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health officials have encouraged people infected with COVID-19 to quarantine themselves from other people and pets. Naturally, this brings up some alarming questions.
You might wonder if your dog could get infected and/or infect humans. And you might ask, “If my dog starts showing signs of a respiratory infection—such as sneezing, nasal congestion, and coughing—does this mean he is infected with coronavirus?”
Fortunately, that’s likely not the case.
There is limited evidence to suggest that your dog is at risk for COVID-19. And there’s no evidence that coronavirus in dogs can spread to humans, according to World Health Organization.
But this is a novel virus (AKA, one we’ve never seen before). As such, research and testing are ongoing, and there’s a lot we still don’t know.
HAVE THERE BEEN CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN DOGS?
The Hong Kong government reported that an apparently healthy dog belonging to an infected person tested “weakly positive” for coronavirus. Based on the circumstances of the dog’s confinement, several test results indicate that the dog has a low-level infection. If this is true, human-to-dog transmission has likely occurred.
While this may seem concerning, it’s important to remember that:
- This dog appears to be healthy (i.e., showing no symptoms of infection).
- No evidence that dogs can infect humans with coronavirus yet exists.
So, why are health officials directing infected people to quarantine themselves from pets if there isn’t proof that dogs can infect humans? It’s because they’re being cautious. We simply don’t understand enough about COVID-19 yet to say there is absolutely no risk.
That being said, there are currently no other known cases of COVID-19 in companion animals.
5 STEPS TO PREVENT CORONAVIRUS IN YOUR DOG
Though there’s little risk, we recommend preventive measures—just to be safe. Besides keeping your dog away from COVID-19-positive people, here are a few general steps you should take to protect your pup from coronavirus:
- Wash your hands before and after interacting with your dog (this reduces the transfer of dirt and any germs between you and your pet).
- Avoid contact with wildlife, including those kept as pets.
- Routinely clean and disinfect animal contact surfaces, such as cages and feeding areas—especially after contact with high-risk animals (e.g., wildlife and stray or free-roaming dogs and cats).
- Contact your veterinary team if your dog shows signs of not feeling well.
- Follow general best practices for yourself—including good hand hygiene—and if you think you’re developing flu-like symptoms, stay home and call your medical provider for advice on next steps.
And as mentioned above, the CDC recommends you avoid contact with both pets and people if you should test positive with COVID-19.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
We hope this information has quelled some of your anxiety about coronavirus in dogs. For the latest updates and recommendations, please refer to the following reliable sources:
- World Small Animal Veterinary Association: Coronavirus and Companion Animals Advice
- World Organization for Animal Health (OIE): Questions and Answers on the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)