Coronavirus and Canines: Is Your Dog at Risk of Getting COVID-19?

March 13, 2020

Coronavirus Dog

A dog wearing a face mask in Shanghai, China. 
Aly Song/Reuters/TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

As news about the spread of the novel coronavirus, SAR-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, continues to intensify, many pet owners are wondering if they need to take measures to protect their pets.

Here at Heed, we know that you consider your pup a beloved member of the family and want to take whatever steps necessary to keep them safe. We would like to pass along some important information concerning dogs and coronavirus and how you can protect and prepare to care of your pup during this pandemic.

 

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus?

While it is true that dogs are susceptible to some types of coronavirus, specifically CRCoV which causes respiratory issues and CCoV which causes digestive upset, there is no current evidence that this novel coronavirus can infect canines or other domestic pets.

As many news outlets have reported, one dog in Hong Kong did test positive for SAR-CoV-2, but it is important to note that this dog was not showing any symptoms at the time. Most likely, the dog had inhaled the virus while in close proximity to their infected owner leading to the virus being detected during the test.

There is no reason to believe this dog was actually infected with the virus or that the virus is capable of entering the cells of dogs and cats and replicating.

Can Pets Spread Coronavirus?

Thankfully, our dogs appear to be safe from the COVID-19 infection, but that does not mean they aren’t capable of spreading the virus under the right circumstances. 

Just as the virus can survive on surfaces for a period of time and be transmitted that way, it is likely possible that dogs can transmit the virus from an infected person to others who they are in contact with. Because of this, some health agencies are recommending that pets belonging to infected individuals be quarantined for fourteen days alongside their owners.

Even though it is unlikely that your dog will become infected or pose a risk to others, it is still smart to practice some precautionary measures. Wash your hands before and after handling your pets and don’t let your dog lick your face.

If you are quarantined in your home along with other family members who are not sick, it is best not to allow pets to comingle between those who are ill and those who aren’t.

 

How to Prepare Your Pup for a Pandemic

Just because our dogs can’t get ill from the new coronavirus does not mean we shouldn’t consider them when preparing our families.


The World Health Organization and the CDC both recommend that individuals take precautionary measures now to assure they will have what they need in case home quarantine is required. This means stocking up on at least two weeks worth of nonperishable food and other essentials.

For your pet, be sure you have an adequate supply of their food in case you aren’t able to leave the house due to infection or because of a local outbreak. If your dog is on any medications, you should consider filling those prescriptions as soon as they become available and stockpiling any extras.

You should also make a contingency plan for your pets’ care should you have to be hospitalized for an extended period. Reach out to friends and neighbors now to see if they might be willing to help out if an emergency arises. It is also a good idea to have written instructions for your dogs’ meals and medications posted in your home just in case.

As scary as the news about this virus is, it is important to keep in mind that the vast majority of humans infected recover without incident and that our furry family members appear to be completely unaffected. 

Right now, the best thing you can do for yourself, your pets, and your community is to remain calm, avoid social situations as much as possible, and prepare now to keep yourself and your furry family safe.