Can dogs get Coronavirus? And how to protect them?
These are the questions that circulating the internet lately and become one of the biggest concerns of not only dog owners but other pet owners as well.
It all started when a video / news of “World’s First Dog to have Died of COVID19 in Hong Kong” emerged. The said dog had contracted the virus from its owner and died three days after retuning home. There’s reportedly another dog that lives in the same house, which is now being continuously tested and was put in quarantine.
Although later on, it didn’t confirm that the first dog actually died of Coronavirus because they didn’t do any autopsy, it is enough to cause “panic” to pet owners particularly, dog owners.
And these are what experts has to say:
“That was a weak positive in the dog. We don’t even know if it was really positive.” Williams said, Dr. John Williams, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, pointing out that the Pomeranian also tested negative on several occasions.
“The Pomeranian was never sick with the illness, and was released from quarantine and then died.” Said Dr. Dana Varble, chief veterinary officer for the North American Veterinary Community. Which provides continuing education for veterinary professionals.Source : https://edition.cnn.com/
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, and has since spread globally, resulting in the 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic. Common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include muscle pain, septum production, diarrhea, sore throat, abdominal pain, and loss of smell or taste. While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure. As of March 25, 2020, the overall rate of deaths, per number of diagnosed cases is 4.5 percent, ranging from 0.2 percent to 15 percent according to age group and other health problems.Source Wikipedia
After the COVID19 has been declared as global pandemic by WHO (World Health Organization), people started to worry not only about their health but also about their pets’. Picture of dogs wearing masks all over social media added to the fear that our lovable four legged friends may contract the virus.
Due to this, the following questions arose. As a dog owner myself, I tried to search for the answer, compiled it in this post so I can share the information to you.
- Can dogs get Coronavirus?
- Can dogs transmit the Covid19 to humans?
- How are the dog owners can protect them?
CAN DOGS GET CORONAVIRUS?
The answer is… NO.
The World Health Organization stated in their Q&A on coronavirus (COVID19) that, “to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.”
It was also released on WHO’s myth-buster page but apparently it’s gone.
From what WHO stated, as a dog owners we can rest assure that our doggos are safe from the virus.
CAN DOGS TRANSMIT THE COVID19 TO HUMANS?
Despite the fact that WHO itself already clarified, that dogs can’t be infected with coronavirus, there are still dog owners who remain curious and worried about the situation. Whether dogs transmit the CoVid19 to humans since, coronavirus outbreak speculated to have started in animals.
Although, there’s a case in Hong Kong where a pet owner was tested positive for CoVid19 and her 2 dogs as well (the other one is still negative though). But local government officials stressed that “there’s currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of Coronavirus or that they become sick.”
So, for additional answer and to calm us down, I visited WHO website apparently, it has a Q&A section about CoVid19. And while you’re there, you may want to check the other queries too to be more educated about the coronavirus.
The above image is the screenshot I took from the website. I advise you to visit the website to be informed more.
Also, as I create this post I came across with an article in CNNHealth which I think will make us dog owners, feel more relieved. Here it is :
It’s good to hear this, right? I mean, this is already coming from the experts. We can now relax and believe that our adorable four-legged friends are safe.
Yet, there’s still another concern. Despite the fact that we know that our dog’s safe from coronavirus, yet we’re still eager to know, How can we protect our dogs from coronavirus.
HOW CAN DOG OWNERS PROTECT DOGS FROM COVID19?
After the incident in Hong Kong, you will see dogs in China that are wearing facial mask all over the internet. The most famous one, is the cat that wears a mask that covers its entire face.
So, dog and pet owners alike asking: “Should my pet wear mask too?” I for one, wondered the same thing. Because I can not over look the possibility that an infected person might sneeze or contaminate my dog.
Therefore, the chances of another person touch my dog and acquire the infection.
So, should our pets wear mask? No. Because face mask may not protect our pets from disease transmission and might cause breathing problem.
Image from FOX10Phoenix.com
According to the American Medical Association, petting a dog’s fur is a low risk. The AVMA Chief Veterinary Officer Gail Golab say, “We’re not overly concerned about people contracting COVID19 through contact with dogs and cats.” And there’s scientific behind that: “the virus survives best on smooth surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs,” Golab says, “Porous materials such as pet fur tend to absorb and trap pathogens, making it harder to contract them through touch.”Source akc.org
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HOW TO PROTECT DOGS FROM COVID19?
Since its been stated that the effect of CoVid19 to our dogs is unlikely and the risk is low (for now), there’s no specific or any special precautionary method that needs to be done to our dogs.
The things that we, dog owners, can do to protect our dogs from coronavirus is to follow the basic hygiene which washing our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (that’s the advice we receive here in Korea) before and after you touch your pets.
You can still walk your dog outside but be sure to keep the distance from the others. And if WE wash our hands, make sure to wash or wipe their paws after the walk as well.
In addition, which is the most important thing is, if you happen to be tested positive for CoVid19, experts says that you must restrict yourself from touching or petting your dogs to reduce the chances of spreading the virus.
Now, you may ask, what if you need to walk your dog? Well, in this case, you may have to ask another member of the family or another person to walk the dog for you.
Again, dogs do not need to wear masks to protect themselves from the virus. If your dog is showing symptoms or a change in their health, it is strongly recommended consulting your vet about this.
Just to recap, the questions being asked by pet owners in these particular days is : Can dogs get Coronavirus?
The World Health Organization already stated that at present there’s no evidence that pets such dogs and cats have infected humans with Covid19.
With regards on protecting our dogs from the virus, the only thing that we need to do is to practice washing our hands, like what we’ve been taught since we were younger.
Do not be afraid of petting your dogs. Actually, bonding is needed now more than ever. Take advantage of this “event” where most of us are encouraged to stay home. Hold your pets, dogs or cats, whatever you have.
Besides, the bonding between the dogs and its owner is important and good for both. Plus, you don’t have to feel sorry for those days that you missed spending time with your doggies because of work, now, consider this crisis an opportunity to pay it back.
Play with your dogs, hug them. But wash your hands!
Do you have dogs? What were your worries when CoVid19 came up? What do you do to protect your dogs? Have you ever put a mask in your dog? C’mon be honest! 😁
Please write them down below in the comments. I would love to hear your experiences, share them so I can learn too. Let’s exchange ideas. If you think I missed something, please do let me know and I’d be more than happy to get back to you.
If you find this post helpful, please do share it as well.
See you in my next post!
Tiny Disclosure: I caught D playing with a mask (which he took from my desk) took a photo and used it as my featured image. You might find the mask a little dirty, he’s been playing with it for quite a while. I was clean though, before he took it 😉