When a dog in Hong Kong tested positive for coronavirus last month, pets quickly became part of the COVID-19 conversation. That case may have you wondering if your pets are at risk from this virus, too. Here’s the latest on the virus and your pets.
Is my dog at risk for catching coronavirus?
For now, pets are thought to be safe when it comes to COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs or cats will become a source of infection in other animals or humans. And if your dog is usually at home and doesn't come in contact with other dogs or people, and if no one in your household has COVID-19, it is unlikely that your pet will become infected.
Should my pet wear a face mask when in public?
There is no benefit to that. In fact, it's probably fairly distressing for the pet and could cause them to panic.
Can my dog spread coronavirus to humans?
Dogs are not known to be able to transfer it to humans. If you’re infected, your dog or cat could pass virus particles to any human who subsequently pets them. However, this is not a common way for the virus to spread. Still, you should wash your hands thoroughly before and after petting any animal—for many reasons!
Should I stock up on food and medicine for my dog?
In case you have to self-quarantine, you should prepare an emergency kit that includes a 30-day supply of your pets’ medications, as well as at least two weeks’ worth of food.
Is it safe to go to the vet’s office?
According to the CDC, you should avoid making unnecessary trips to areas that are frequented by many people. Contact your veterinarian about rescheduling wellness examinations, elective surgeries and dentistry procedures.
Does coronavirus affect my dog’s walk routine?
It’s safe to take your dog out for walks, but you should avoid letting other people stop and pet your dog (and you must resist the temptation to do the same with other people’s dogs). Many dog parks are closing temporarily to help prevent the virus from spreading, so use your best judgment.
What other precautions should dog owners take?
The best thing pet parents can do is not panic. Stay healthy for your pets by practicing good preventive measures, such as hand-washing and social distancing. Using paw wipes after pets come in from the outdoors is a good idea to halt the spread of germs. Do not abandon your dog because of COVID-19 concerns, and avoid high-traffic areas, like dog parks, where social distancing is not possible.
While animals may not be at risk from this disease, I urge all pet owners to have plans for how to care for their animals in case of any emergency. COVID-19 is no different. Indeed, it serves as an excellent reminder to pull that plan together now if you don’t have one already. Pets are family, and you want to make sure they're taken care of at all costs.