CORONAVIRUS TO DOG
CORONAVIRUS TO DOG
Photos of dogs with facemasks are currently circulating all over the internet. This has given pet owners the fear that their beloved pets can contract or transmit the virus. Since its first occurrence in China, there are many questions as to whether the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can be transmitted through animals or only through humans.
Can animals transmit coronavirus?
The virus was first identified in bats and passed on to humans. Since then studies have been conducted to ascertain whether pets and other animals can also contract or transmit coronavirus, particularly dogs. According to the World Health Organization, there is no significant proof that dogs can transmit the virus. Chinese health officials have also tested dogs alongside other animals. They have concluded that COVID-19 infection in dogs is possible but not frequent. It is highly unlikely that your pet dog can transmit the virus to you.
Can dogs catch COVID-19?
The worlds’ first dog to catch COVID-19 from its owner was isolated in a government facility. It tested for a weak positive for the virus in all 5 tests that were carried out. It did not develop any symptoms and was released on March 13th but then died on 16th March. It is highly unlikely that the death was caused by coronavirus (the owner refused an autopsy to be performed). Animals can catch certain strains of coronavirus such as the canine coronavirus which has a vaccine and also COVID-19, which has no known vaccine. But the truth is, dogs are highly unlikely to transmit the virus.
How can I keep my pet dog safe?
The best way to protect your dog is by observing high levels of personal hygiene. Remember pets can catch the infection from their owners. But by observing personal hygiene, you can prevent transmission. Coronavirus survives on smooth surfaces e.g. tables, handrails, doorknobs, and other touchable surfaces. However, porous materials such as the dog’s fur tend to trap the pathogens, making it hard to transmit them. You should also keep some distancing from pets for example by using a leash to walk the dog. This way, the chances of transmitting the disease are minimal. Avoid snuggling and remember to wash hands before and after interacting with your dog.
What if I need to take my dog for a walk?
As a pet owner, walking your dog is part of the routine requirements and should not be obliterated by this pandemic. Just observe the local laws restricting movement to avoid colliding with the local authorities. For instance, you do not want to go out if the government has issued a mandatory lockdown. You will be charged and penalized. Follow the measures prescribed by health experts.
When going out and wear gloves, put on a facemask and avoid crowds. A facemask for your dog is not necessary because it can cause breathing problems and discomfort. When you take your dog for the walk enjoy your time as much as possible. Once you get back remember to wash your hands with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Clean your dog too, with paw wipes and paw cleaner to further reduce the risk of transmitting the disease.