COVID-19 and Your Dog: What You Need to Know

As our nation increases preventative measures to reduce the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, as a dog owner you may be wondering if your companion is also at risk for becoming infected.

It is important to know that coronaviruses refers to a large family of viruses, some of which can infect humans, as well as some that only infect canines, felines, or other animals. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) some coronaviruses can be transferred from animals to humans, but is a rare occurrence. While it is expected that the COVID-19 strain originated from an animal, the source of the disease has not yet been confirmed.

But what about this strain of coronavirus and your dog?

Can Dogs Catch Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), several dogs and cats in contact with infected humans have tested positive for COVID-19. However, there is no further evidence that suggests dogs or other pets can transmit the disease to humans.

Petting your dog’s fur seems to be low-risk, as reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, as the porous nature of animal fur tends to trap and absorb pathogens making it difficult to become infected.

Despite this knowledge, it is important to take precautions if your dog has been in contact with an infected person. It is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 and people who are at risk limit contact with companion and other animals. When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing after handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.n

Protecting You and Your Dog

Taking basic preventative hygienic measures, such as washing your hands before and after petting your dog, disinfecting common areas, and practicing social distancing, is a great way to keep yourself and your pooch healthy. To further reduce the possible spread of germs, you can wipe your dog’s paws with paw cleaner or paw wipes before they come back into the home—dogs do not need a facemask to protect themselves from the virus!

If you have contracted the COVID-19 virus, you should restrict contact between you and your pet to help both of you remain healthy and prevent spreading the illness. This includes petting, cuddling, being licked, and sharing food. But, if you notice any odd behavior or signs of illness in your dog, speak to your veterinarian. 

Practice good hygiene before and after playing with your dog and make sure he is remaining active at home to stay healthy during this trying time.