July 08, 2020 4 min read

With all of the Coronavirus outbreak taking over the news and our daily lives, people have started to wonder if pets can catch Coronavirus. While there are cases that dogs have caught the Coronavirus, most dogs seem to not show any symptoms.  

Most dogs usually make a complete recovery and only have very mild respiratory issues. If you think that your dog has possibly been exposed to the Coronavirus, it would be best to call your vet to ask for advice on the next steps. 

What is Coronavirus? 

Coronavirus is a new virus that is currently spreading around the world.  The exact cause is unknown but thought to have originated in Wuhan. This virus is referred to as COVID-19, as it is a strand of COVID discovered in 2019.  This is the cause of the global pandemic that has affected day-to-day life, economics, social activities, and health concerns for many people.

This virus can easily spread through air particles via breathing, coughing, and sneezing. It can also spread if you are close to one another.  This has led to the term “social distancing,” referring to a distance of 6ft between individuals. 

This virus will affect your breathing and can cause blood clotting issues, resulting in death if untreated and severe, while this virus will not kill all carriers but will be highly effective if combined with prior conditions. 

Can COVID-19 Spread to Dogs?

Current data shows that COVID-19 can spread to animals, but it is very low, but still possible. This virus is thought to have originated with a bat. Animals are just like people and can show no symptoms of respiratory issues such as a dry hacking cough. 

Pets like dogs and cats have tested positive for COVID-19. Most, but not all, had experienced contact with an infected human individual recently. Research shows that ferrets, cats, and hamsters can also contract the virus alongside dogs. Non-human primates are also able to contract the virus and have tested positive for other Coronaviruses in the past. More testing still is needed to determine the entire issue of COVID-19 in dogs.

Procedures For an Infected Dog

If the dog tests positive for COVID, then isolate it from everyone. The dog can potentially be contagious to any human or susceptible animal in close proximity.  Do not try to bathe your dog in disinfectants or chemical cleansers, as this can cause other types of damage. It is best to keep your dog at home unless you are taking them for medical care. It is best to stay in contact with your regular veterinarian as they can give you advice on what to do next for your dog.  

If your dog does test positive for COVID, it is best to avoid the following places specifically: 

  • Veterinary hospitals without proper accommodation in place 
  • Human healthcare facilities and schools 
  • Parks, grocery stores, and other public gathering places 
  • Daycares and grooming facilities 

Try to avoid contact with your pet as much as possible, including petting them and them licking you. Monitor any symptoms and keep a log of what you are seeing. Report these symptoms to your veterinarian and let them know if your pet seems to get worse. It is best to always clean your hands completely before and after taking care of your dog. This will help decrease the spread of COVID to people in your house. It is always advised to wear a cloth covering your mouth and nose in accordance with CDC recommendations. 

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If You Have Coronavirus, What Should You Do With Your Pets?

If you have tested positive for Coronavirus, it is recommended that you try to limit your contact with your dogs and cats. You can see if another member of your family can take care of your pets for at least 14 days since you last have any symptoms of Coronavirus.  

This will help decrease the chance that your dog or cat could get sick or that your pets could possibly carrying virus particles on their fur.  It would be best to avoid touching your pets or any of their belongings for these two weeks.  Also, try not to kiss, pet, or allow your dog or cat to lick your face.

What If there Is No One Else That Can Care For My Pets?

If you live by yourself and there is no one else that you can see if they can take care of your dog or cat, then you can feed them, give them water, and let them outside for bathroom breaks.  Try to make sure that you have very minimal contact with your dog.  If your dog is very bored being at home without your interacting with them, you can give them extra dog toys to play with or even a dog puzzle to help keep them entertained.  

It is recommended that you use something like a baby gate or closing them in a different room or a different part of the house.  You can even consider taking them to a pet boarding facility. However, some boarding places may be closed due to the corona outbreak.  Always inform the boarding facility that your dog has potentially been around someone who has tested positive for COVID19. 

Some boarding facilities may not allow your pet to stay with them to decrease the chance of them spreading the virus to the people working there or other pets boarding.   

Remember that studies on animal COVID-19 cases are still ongoing and that you need to monitor them as new information comes out. Trying to stay away from your pet if you get the Coronavirus will help ensure that your dog stays safe during this time.

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM

Since she was a little girl, she knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals that makes her a great source of knowledge for others. She lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies Ruby the Schnoodle, and Bam-Bam the bunny.

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