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Coronavirus and Pets: What You Should Know

March 8, 2020 8:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Many people have concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. If you have pets, you may have additional questions about their safety. Questions like “Do I need to get my dog vaccinated against the coronavirus?” or “Can you get coronavirus from a dog?” Whether you have a canine, feline, or other small animal pet, here are the things you should know about the coronavirus to keep them, and you, safe.

What is the Coronavirus

There are many different coronaviruses out there. They range from types causing the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Most recently, a new type of coronavirus began spreading throughout China and the world. This strain is known as coronavirus – COVID-19. 

Coronaviruses are found in both animals and people. Not necessarily the same strain though. Sometimes interspecies transmission can occur which is what happened with the SARS outbreak and what is suspected of happening with COVID-19. Generally, they are only transmitted within the same species, canine to canine, feline to feline, human to human, etc.

This new coronavirus is spreading quickly between humans, with the hardest hit being the elderly population. Common symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.

With the newest COVID-19 outbreak you might be asking, “Can you get coronavirus from a dog?” That’s a valid question.

Can You Get Coronavirus from a Dog

Currently, the answer to the question of “Can you get coronavirus from a dog?” is no. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), dogs and other pets don’t pose a risk of transmitting COVID-19. 

cuddle pug in blanket

Can My Dog (or Other Pets) Get Coronavirus

There are certain types of coronaviruses that pets can get. Since there are many strains of coronavirus there would be some that canines are able to pass to each other. That would be the case with any of your pets. This doesn’t mean they would pass it to you though.

Speaking specifically on the human coronavirus COVID-19, there has only been one case so far where a dog has tested positive for it. Officials had tested the dog’s nose and it was a weak positive for COVID-19. However, the dog was not ill with it. With only one case worldwide it’s highly unlikely you would get your dog sick from it. 

That being said, taking some precautions around your pets and other animals would be smart.

Everyday Precautions to Take Around Your Pet

Although getting the coronavirus or giving it to your dog or cat is unlikely, there are still steps you can take to ensure their health should you get sick with COVID-19. Here are preventative measures you can take to protect them and yourself:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching your canine or feline friend.
  • Don’t cuddle with your favorite feline, or any pet, if you’re ill.
  • Don’t let dogs lick your face.
  • Let someone else care for your pets if you have COVID-19.
  • If no one is available to help out with your pets, wear a facemask around them.
  • If your pets appear to be ill, seek veterinary care for them.

Handwashing before and after interaction with your pets is also important to prevent the spread of illnesses which are more common like Salmonella and E. Coli. You have a much better chance of getting those from your pet than the coronavirus.

Coronavirus in Dogs: Vaccine or Not?

syringe with three vials dog

The WHO and CDC are working on measures to find a vaccine for the coronavirus for humans. However, it’s going to take them a little while to develop it. If you are concerned about the coronavirus in dogs, vaccine measures are not necessary at this time.

If officials start finding the coronavirus COVID-19 in dogs, vaccine research will likely spread in order to find something to protect them and other small animals. However, if you want to protect your dog from the canine coronavirus (different from human coronavirus COVID-19) ask your vet about the distemper/parvo plus coronavirus vaccine or just the canine coronavirus vaccine.

According to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, if you want to protect your dog from potential respiratory illnesses, look into getting it the canine influenza vaccine, parainfluenza vaccine, and/or bordetella vaccine. Both of these can lead to respiratory issues and further complications should your pet contract them. Most kennels require the Bordetella vaccine if you board your pet with them.

Final Thoughts on Coronavirus and Your Pets

At this time, there is not a need to be overly concerned about your pet’s safety when it comes to COVID-19. Since evidence so far suggests it is mainly affecting humans, your animal friends should be safe from illness. If you should get sick, taking those few extra precautions will be all it should take to ensure their health. Seek further advice from your veterinarian if you have more questions or concerns.

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