The World Health Organization has recently declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to be a global pandemic. While most media coverage concerns human contraction of the virus, many dog owners are wondering if their pets are vulnerable to coronavirus. There have been reports and images across the internet showing dogs wearing masks and suggestions that they can be carriers of the virus. This leads to people wanting to know: what are the facts about dogs and coronavirus?
Can Dogs Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Specific types of coronaviruses can be contracted by dogs such as the canine respiratory coronavirus. However, this specific coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is highly unlikely to affect dogs according to the American Kennel Club.
Furthermore, there has not been a single reported coronavirus (COVID-19) in domestic animals. The World Health Organization has stated there is “no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”.
Didn’t a Dog Test Positive in China?
An owner in Hong Kong had tested positive for COVID-19 and it is believed that large quantities of the virus had shed and was present in the dog’s nose. As of March 12, 2020, the dog has since been quarantined with “weak positive results” from oral samples taken two weeks before. As a result, it is believed that the dog has a low-level infection, likely caused by being in close proximity to its owner. However, it is important to remember there are no indications that the virus can be spread by pets, nor can they become sick from it.
Can Veterinarians Test for COVID-19 in Dogs?
Yes! Diagnostic tests exist that are capable of detecting coronavirus (COVID-19) in pets at the University of Illinois-College of Veterinary Medicine. Contact your local veterinarian to determine if your dog warrants testing.
How Can I Help Protect My Pet from Coronavirus?
Since it is highly unlikely that your dog can contract coronavirus (COVID-19), the best thing to do is to maintain basic hygienic precautions. Ensure your dog has clean food and water. To help reduce the spread of germs, you may also want to wipe your dog’s paws when they come inside the home from being outside.
If you yourself have been infected with coronavirus (COVID-19), remember that there are no specific steps needed to prevent your dog from contracting the virus. Dogs are at minimal risk of infection.
If you believe your pet is sick, please contact your local veterinarian. For more information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention click here.