You may have heard that a dog in China was found to have a low-level COVID-19 infection from its human. However, according to the World Health Organization, at this time, there is no evidence suggesting that dogs or cats can be infected with coronavirus. This means that there is no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of the illness or that they themselves can get sick from it.
Well, then, how is it possible for a dog in China to test positive for coronavirus? The Hong Kong government had previously reported that a 17-year-old Pomeranian had tested positive for COVID-19 after their positive owner exposed them. You may also read that after returning home, that dog passed away, unfortunately. However, experts do not believe this was due to coronavirus but the age of the dog.
Additionally, a cat was found to have tested positive in Europe for the virus after their owner was infected. Luckily, experts believe that dogs and cats cannot be easily infected with the virus, and the risk of transmissions from a pet to a human is also very rare.
It is also unlikely that pets will become ill from the virus. That being said, it’s important to wash your hands before and after handling your animals, their food, and their supplies. You should also avoid kissing them. In the case that our experts are proven wrong, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Pets as Conduits
Pets can, however, become conduits of infection between people. Just like when you go to the grocery store and touch something that an infected person has touched, it is possible for your dog or cat to be contaminated. If an individual has coughed or sneezed near your pet, you could contract the virus, even though experts believe the risk for transmission this way is low. The reason for this being that COVID-19 survives longer on inanimate surfaces than on soft surfaces like fur. Again, animals living with individuals who are sick should be kept away from others.
Protecting Your Pet
Since your dog or cat is at a minimal risk of contracting COVID-19, there are no specific steps laid out to protect them from infection. However, just as you are advised to take social distancing seriously, the same should be said for your pets. If you yourself are sick, make sure to have minimal contact with your pet and make sure to wash your hands before and after interacting with them. Also, to be on the safe side, continue to keep other people away from your pet. Some people have been proven to be asymptomatic, which means they could have coronavirus and not even know To protect your pet and yourself, maintain your distance from individuals outside of your immediate household.
Tips for Protecting Your Pet and Yourself From Coronavirus
While the World Health Organization states that pets cannot contract the virus, you should still be taking steps to ensure their safety and health. After all, experts are wrong all the time. This doesn’t mean that your pet should be wearing a face mask during their walks. However, you can be proactive and protect both your pets and yourself.
Maintain Social Distancing: This is easy. When you’re on your walks, don’t let other pet your dog as they can be a conduit for the virus.
Don’t Have Friends Over: Similarly, anyone can have the virus, even if they are not showing symptoms. For this reason, it’s best to keep your pet away from people who are not in your immediate household.
Wash Your Hands: Before handling your dog’s food, toys, and more, make sure that you wash your hands. You should also wash your hands after petting your dog, since they may be a conduit without your knowledge. If your dog has been around people other than yourself, make sure to avoid snuggling and kissing.
Bathe Your Dog Regularly: If you just can’t avoid kissing and snuggling your dog, make sure to give him or her regular baths just in case.