Can Dogs Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)? What You Need to Know About Keeping Your Pet Safe

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)? What You Need to Know About Keeping Your Pet Safe

Covid-19 has just become a global pandemic. As more and more people are infected and events and travels around the world are cancelled we cannot help but wonder  – can my dog be infected with coronavirus?

Well, short answer would be – nobody really knows for sure yet.

Known Facts

So let’s talk more about known facts and about that dog in Hong Kong that tested positive for the disease.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is caused by a virusnamed SARS-CoV-2 which stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. The disease causes flu-like symptoms in people, including mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

What Does This Mean?

A 17-year-old Pomeranian in China tested positive for SARS-Cov-2. But what does it mean?

The dog belongs to someone that was sick with COVID-19. There was also another dog from the same family, which has been tested multiple times and tested negative in all of them. The Pomeranian has also been tested multiple times and has always showed a weak positive result. None of the dogs have ever shown any symptoms of illness related to COVID-19 and are still in quarantine and being researched.

At this point it is not possible to say for sure if the tested detected the active virus or simply a part of it’s RNA (genetic material) that could have triggered the weak positive results. There is NO evidence so far that cats and dogs can become sick or can become a source of infection to people or other species.

How To Limit Transmission of the Disease

With that being said, the American Veterinary Medical Association has some advices to limit transmission of the disease:

If you are sick with COVID-19 you need to be careful to avoid transmitting it to other people. Applying some commonsense measures can help prevent that from happening.

  • Stay at home except to get medical care and call ahead before visiting your doctor. Minimize your contact with other people, including separating yourself from other members of your household who are not ill; using a different bathroom, if available; and wearing a facemask when you are around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • Wash your hands often, especially before touching your face, and use hand sanitizer. Use a tissue if you need to cough or sneeze and dispose of that tissue in the trash. When coughing or sneezing, do so into your elbow or sleeve rather than directly at another person.

Out of an abundance of caution, the AVMA recommends you take the same common-sense approach when interacting with your pets or other animals in your home, including service animals. You should tell your physician and public health official that you have a pet or other animal in your home.

Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.

So, if you are ill with COVID-19, have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a face mask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet or service animal.

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. While we are recommending these as good practices, it is important to remember there is currently no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people.

The AVMA also recommends that you have an emergency kit prepared at home in case you need someone else to take care of your pet. That would be 14 days of food and required medication, just in case you are not able to leave your house.

This information was taken from the AVMA website which has been updated frequently so you can keep up with the latest information.

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Dr. Tatiana da Silva, DVM

Dr Tatiana da Silva graduated from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2000. She practiced as a small animal surgeon in the University of Sao Paulo Teaching Hospital until she decided to move to Orlando, Florida in 2011. She has been working for Banfield Pet Hospital since validating her Veterinary degree in the USA. On her free time she loves to spend quality time with her wife and pets (3 dogs and 3 guinea pigs). She also enjoys working on her Australian Shepherd Zoe Marie Instagram’s page @zoemarietheaussie.

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