Corona Virus in Dogs: Should Dog-Lovers be Worried?

At this time, there is an ongoing spread of COVID-19 virus in different countries around the world. This virus is majorly transmitted through body contact, droplets from sneezing and coughing. Should dog owners be worried? Let’s start by describing the virus. 

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus, which started in Wuhan, China at the beginning of December 2019, and has reached over 6 continents of the world; excluding Antarctica. This coronavirus has a very high spreading power, currently; they are over 800,000 infected people all over the world. The virus can cause a range of symptoms in humans; they include cough, runny nose, sore throat, and fever, though it is yet to show likely symptoms in dogs.

Woman Sitting on Luggage

Generally, the pandemic has altered human’s everyday life; major cities are on lockdown, including schools, and companies, on the other hand, giving people more time to spend with their dogs at home. This has raised concern for pet-lovers who share their homes with companion animals (like dogs and cats). Should dog-owners be worried? Should dogs be monitored and quarantined as well? What effect does this virus have on animals and can animals infect humans with the virus?

In this article, we will be discussing the effect of coronavirus in dogs and whether it has any effect on their hosts/owners.

Can dogs infect humans with COVID-19?

If you are currently housing a dog, there is no need for panic. Medical experts have announced that it is very unlikely for dogs to get infected or to transfer the virus to humans. According to the report given by World Health Organisation, there is no sustained evidence to show that dogs or cats can get ill from coronavirus –though they are some virus that can infect animals without really causing illness in them –coronavirus might just be one of them.

As at this time, WHO is yet to record cases of infection from dogs to humans, most of the COVID-19 victims were infected through human contacts, not dogs.

Person Washing His Hand

According to OIE, dogs do not play any role in the spread of the new coronavirus. So your worry at this time should not be whether your dog will get infected, your worry should be “how can I avoid being infected by other humans?” And, of course, the rules are pretty simple, wash your hands with soap and water, always apply alcohol-based sanitizer, stay at home, and maintain social distancing. The CDC likewise mentioned that no evidence has shown that companion animals (including pets) take part in the spread of COVID-19. This is really going to be a huge relief for dog owners. Note that they may be a need to review these statements in the future when new findings surface.

However, in late February 2020, a dog was quarantined by the Hong Kong authorities after the dog tested “weakly positive” for the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the owner of the dog was already a carrier, based on this; it was assumed that the dog caught the virus from its owner. The dog was kept under surveillance for days, yet he did not exhibit any of the COVID-19 symptoms. The dog was tested again and was found COVID-19 free.

Is it safe to pet my puppy?

Dog wearing a mask Credits: AFP

Here is a statement made by the AVMA’a Chief Veterinary Officer Gail Golad, “We’re not overly concerned about people contracting COVID-19 through contact with dogs and cats.” If you love petting dogs or playing with their fur, then you don’t have anything to worry about, because the virus can rarely survive on furs, they’d rather prefer a smooth surface (like the human skin). This is basically why it’s difficult for dogs to transfer the disease to people. But, before touching a dog’s fur, ensure the dog is clean. 

There are several ways to observe hygiene in dogs to avoid getting any dog transmittable disease. You can bath the dog with nice smelling shampoos and ensure they don’t play with dirt –you can as well bath your pet with flea shampoos, it helps to take away all form of flea from the dog’s body.

I know that some kids might want to be adventurous, and will likely tend to touch the dog’s nose or insert their hand into the dog’s mouth, this is an unsafe act. We haven’t confirmed the possibility of dogs transmitting COVID-19, but putting your hand inside a dog’s mouth is not hygienic at all and can put the person at risk. It’s true that COVID-19 has less effect on dogs, but they are other dog diseases we should watch out for, like Bordetella, canine influenza, and parainfluenza. Kindly consult your vet accordingly and get your dog vaccinated against these diseases. 

Is there a Vaccination for Dogs against COVID-19?  

Person getting a injection

At this time, no vaccine treats COVID -19 in dogs. Since dogs are somewhat not responsive to the effect of the virus, creating a vaccine for dogs at this time is unnecessary. The virus rather has a highly damaging effect on humans, so health workers and scientists are working to produce a cure. The World Health Organisation estimated that a vaccine for humans will be ready in 12 to 18 months. Nonetheless, you can vaccinate your dog against other respiratory diseases. Be sure to visit your vet and ensure your dog is properly vaccinated against these diseases.

In essence, bathing your dog and keeping him clean is a sure way of keeping your dog safe from any viral infection. If your dog enjoys running off the house, try putting the dog in a cage to restrict his movement –dog cage will keep him safe. 

Dogs are loyal companions and need to be taken care of. Always ensure your dog is in a good health state because you will enjoy his company better when he is healthy than when he is sick. Thank you for reading this article. For regular alerts on dog vaccination create your pet profile on Monkoodog

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