Coronavirus in Dogs: Can They Get It?

The world is in a state of chaos right now, there's no doubt about that. With this COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the Earth, pet owners worldwide are worried that their dog could potentially pick up this infection too. They see how devastating this virus can be to some humans, so their worry for dogs is valid. But can this virus that's quickly jumping from one human to the next, jump into canines as well?

New information and research are being presented every day, sometimes several times a day, on this novel virus. Some new information has emerged recently that there have been a small handful of cases where dogs have tested positive for COVID-19 after showing some signs of coronavirus in dogs after being exposed. 

What the Experts are Saying

Experts have determined that dogs and cats can both contract this novel coronavirus since there was a report that a dog tested positive for coronavirus, BUT not very easily. Pet owners don't have to worry about transmission from their pets to themselves either. Scientists say there has been no evidence brought forward to prove that this virus can be transmitted from pet to owner and if dogs can carry the coronavirus. But as always, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) recommend that owners wash their hands after handling pets and avoid direct contact with the pets and their faces. 

How Can I Protect My Pet From Coronavirus?

Being that a vaccine against COVID-19 doesn't exist yet for humans, it's right to assume that there isn't one for dogs yet either. The coronavirus vaccine for dogs do exist, but it's not for COVID-19. We've just yet to create a vaccine against this novel virus, for any species. 

A dog can be tested to see if they contracted the novel Coronavirus, but only under the right circumstances. Such as exposure to someone with the virus, or other probable reason to believe the animal has become infected. If you, the owner, contract this virus, it is recommended that you quarantine yourself from your pet as you might with the rest of your family. 

In case you're wondering whether you should put a face mask on your dog when you take them for a walk, the answer is no. There's no evidence backing up the idea that a mask would protect an animal from catching this virus. Not to mention, wearing a mask could cause your dog some unnecessary problems with their ability to breathe.

Many people are getting scared of the coronavirus and for good reason, too. While most of these fears are related to whether they or their family members will get ill from the coronavirus, others are worried about the coronavirus infection in dogs. At the beginning of March 2020, the WHO (World Health Organization) states that Covid-19 or the coronavirus was a global pandemic. You may have even seen pictures online of a dog wearing a face mask to try protecting them against this virus.

Can I pet my dog during this coronavirus pandemic?

Various resources state that petting your dog is alright. There is a very low risk that your dog’s or pet’s fur would be carrying this disease. The CDC and other professionals have no concern about Americans getting infected by petting or being around their pets. This is mainly because this virus will stick to smoother surfaces like doorknobs. The porous materials like pet hair make it more difficult for the virus to be trapped.

Is it safe to walk my dog?

Yes, it is safe to walk your dog to an extent. The federal government is stating that large gatherings are to be avoided at this time and to only go in public if necessary. However, you can always walk your dog in your own yard or up and down your road, as long as you are not going around people. You can also take your dog to a hiking trail, as well.

Do I need to protect my dog from this virus?

As previously stated, the CDC and other professionals aren’t too concerned about pets getting or giving the coronavirus to humans. As long as you follow the recommended hygiene practices and other recommendations by the federal government, you shouldn’t need to do anything else to protect your dog from getting the coronavirus. Your dog doesn’t need to wear a face mask either. If you are still worried about your dog getting the coronavirus, please speak to your veterinarian and they can give you more advice

As of the middle to end of March 2020, there is not evidence that dogs will get Covid-19. However, that doesn’t leave people wondering about various aspects of this virus and how it may affect dogs. Reading about some of the questions others have asked about Covid-19 and dogs may help to ease some of the worries that you have for your own pet.

Are dogs able to contract Covid-19?

Right now, there isn’t evidence that dogs will contract Covid-19. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), OIE, and the CDC, dogs don’t have any role in spreading Covid-19 or are they likely to become sick by it.

Why is there a case of a dog in Hong Kong being tested positive for Covid-19?

It is important to note that the dog in Hong Kong was living with a human who contracted Covid-19. This human likely had a severe case of this virus which caused the virus to linger in the dog’s nose. However, there is nothing that shows this dog became sick or had any symptoms of Covid-19. The dog was tested and the results were “weak positive”. It is likely that the dog in this case died from something other than Covid-19.

Can dogs infect humans with the coronavirus?

While it isn’t likely that dogs will be a carrier of the coronavirus and then transmit it to another human, it is possible. First, it is important to note that this virus lingers on harder surfaces, which makes it tougher for it to linger to a dog’s coat. However, if someone with Covid-19 sneezes on the pet, it is possible that someone else could touch that same pet and get the virus. For this reason, if you have Covid-19 or you know someone that does and there is a dog in the household, keep that dog away from the sick person if at all possible. If not, be sure nobody else touches the dog for a while.

Is there any vaccine for dogs when it comes to Covid-19?

Currently, there are not any vaccinations for Covid-19 for dogs, any other animals, or humans. Many people think that the canine coronavirus vaccination will protect their dog from Covid-19. However, this is a different type of the virus, so that isn’t true.

Is there testing for Covid-19 in dogs?

Since March 15, 2020 there are places that can test for Covid-19 in dogs. After the veterinarian tests the dog, the test will be sent to be reviewed by the state animal health officer or another state public health vet. If it does happen to come back positive, quarantine would be essential for that pet.

If it isn’t likely for my dog to get Covid-19, why is there a test for dogs?

Just because there is a Covid-19 test for dogs, it is still unlikely they will become infected with this virus. It is just a precautionary measure to prevent further spread of Covid-19.

If I get Covid-19, how can I keep my pet safe?

Even though your dog has a very low risk of getting Covid-19 from you, you should still try to see if someone else can care for them while you are sick. If you can’t have someone else take care of them, you should limit the times that you need to touch your dog, while you are still positive for Covid-19.

Does my dog need to wear a face mask?

Face masks are not safe for dogs as they could cause breathing issues. So, no, your dog does not and should not wear a face mask to protect them from Covid-19. These are some questions people have about Covid-19 and dogs. Hopefully, these answers will help you rest easier knowing your dog is more than likely not going to get this virus.

Conclusion

This novel Coronavirus is still too new to know anything for certain one way or another, although, the evidence points at this virus being essentially harmless to your beloved dogs. They can catch it, but it's very very rare.

Can dogs get the coronavirus?

To date, some research has shown that dogs may get some kind of coronavirus, mainly the canine respiratory coronavirus. However, the globally known Covid-19 doesn’t seem to be affecting dogs at this point. In fact, WHO stated that pets can’t transmit this version of the virus. It is generally spread when someone speaks, sneezes, or coughs.

Can humans get coronavirus from dogs?

Many professionals in China are saying that owners of pets should be cautious about their own health and their pet’s health. On the other hand, the CDC states that even though this virus may have come from an animal source, now it seems to be going from one person to the next. In addition, the CDC asks that anyone who travels to China stay away from dead and living animals. There is not, however, any reason to believe that animals in the US have the coronavirus known as Covid-19.

Are dogs vaccinated against the coronavirus?

Unfortunately, the vaccine for coronavirus in both humans and animals does not exist yet. Dogs do have vaccines for other strains of coronavirus, but not for COVID-19.

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Written by Leo Roux

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