With the outbreak on everyone’s mind, many of us are asking: can Coronavirus affect your pet? Health officials say that dogs and cats are not likely to contract Coronavirus, but still, fears ignited when a dog in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus recently. So how are we to make sense of it all? Should you be informing your local Dog Walker to look out for symptoms? Or should we put the question of “Can Coronavirus affect your pet?” to rest? We’ve compiled research from the World Health Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health to answer these questions.
Some background on the Hong Kong canine carrier
Many of us were understandably shaken at the news that a dog in Hong Kong tested positive for Coronavirus. Did this mean that our pups could start contracting the disease?
According to reports, the dog was living at home with a 60-year-old woman who had come down with Covid-19. She was taken to the hospital for isolation, and the dog was tested for Coronavirus. In the nasal cavity and mouth of the dog, tests came back “weak positive” for Coronavirus.
Thankfully, health officials were quick to explain the situation. They believe that the dog didn’t actually contract the disease, but had picked it up as a result of exposure. When placed in observation, the Pomeranian in question never showed symptoms of being sick. As such, staff released the pooch as soon as they no longer tested positive for carrying the virus.
So, can Coronavirus affect your pet or not?
Every day, we learn a little bit more about the virus and how it spreads. But so far, no dogs, cats, or other pets have been affected by the disease. In fact, most health officials believe that the likelihood of a pet being affected by Coronavirus is very, very low.
Now, you might have heard of something called Canine Coronavirus (CCV) or Canine Respiratory Coronavirus (CRCoV). These are two diseases that can affect your pet. In the first case, CCV causes digestive upset in dogs and similar versions of it have been found in cats, foxes, and raccoons around the world.
The second disease causes respiratory infection, with symptoms ranging from “kennel cough” to runny nose and sneezing. In many ways, CRCoV is similar to the common cold in humans.
It’s important to note that neither of these forms of Canine Coronavirus has anything to do with the current outbreak of Covid-19. They are not related. As far as we know, pets are not likely to contract the type of Coronavirus that we’re dealing with in the current outbreak.
Your pet probably won’t contract Covid-19, but there are other ways to ask the question: “Can Coronavirus affect your pet?”
While your pet isn’t likely to get sick from the Coronavirus, they can still be affected by this large-scale outbreak.
For one, Owners who contract the virus may have to go into isolation or quarantine. It’s very important for us all to have a back-up plan for our pups and cats in the case that we go into hospital care. In such instances, having a local Pet Sitter on standby can make all the difference.
Another way that pets can be affected by the disease is when a community goes into shut-down mode. In the case that a specific area becomes at risk for spreading Coronavirus, people will be encouraged to stay home and limit contact with others. To reduce the impact on your pet, you may consider stocking up on their favourite food ahead of time. Should you be unable to go outside, a trusted Dog Walker can ensure your dog still receives the exercise they need. Similarly, if you’re home but ill, a Pet Day Care provider can care for your furry friend while you rest.
A few precautions can go a long way
As we detailed earlier, the World Health Organisation has made it very clear how the virus spreads. According to their warnings, the most likely method of contraction is person-to-person in the form of droplets from the mouth. This could mean that one person coughs or sneezes in the presence of another person, or that their droplets are picked up by another person from surfaces where the droplets landed.
As we saw in the case in Hong Kong, it’s possible for a dog to pick up the virus. This could occur after sniffing or licking a surface where droplets may have been present. While it’s unlikely the dog would then carry the virus to another person, it doesn’t hurt to apply some precautions.
- Wash your hands frequently, particularly after petting or touching your pet
- Avoid allowing your pet to lick you, especially around the face. As we discussed in Should You Allow Your Dog To Lick Your Face?, this is a good word of precaution for illnesses other than Coronavirus, as well.
- Make sure that your pup has good manners around strangers. After all, you don’t want them to be jumping up and licking anyone else, either.
- If your pup gets sick, don’t assume it’s Coronavirus – but don’t leave it untreated. Give your vet a call and clear up any confusion. And if your vet suggests that it’s a doggy cold, read up on our article on How to Protect Your Dog From a Cold.
And the best precaution? Stay engaged. Learn about new developments of Coronavirus and comply with all suggestions made by your local health officials.
If you still have questions regarding whether Coronavirus can affect your pet, please let us know!