The world is reeling under the Covid 19 pandemic for the past few months. This novel coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on the world, and people have had to resort to strict measures to reduce the spread of the virus. The SARS COV2 virus is extremely contagious, and the world is struggling to combat it. Naturally, dog parents are concerned whether their dogs are at risk and can get infected and/or become a carrier of the virus. There have been recent reports in the news about the infection of cats, tigers, dogs and other animals by Covid 19, which has led to further anxiety for dog owners. So, can dogs get Covid 19?
The first thing to understand is that we are still learning about the novel coronavirus. So, we don’t have documented evidence on how exactly the virus behaves and how it actually affects dogs. So, pet parents are advised to follow local guidelines and have patience until we have more concrete information which highlights any risks or preventative measures required for dogs.
Can dogs get Covid 19?
Two dogs, a Pomeranian and a German Shepherd in Hong Kong were found to be infected with the coronavirus. Scientists were able to isolate the SARS COV-2 virus from their nasal and oral swabs, and antibody response to Covid 19 was also detected. These two cases remained asymptomatic and did not show any symptoms which are found in humans. In addition to this, two cases of SARS COV-2 virus have been detected in the United States. However, according to current evidence, it seems that very few dogs have had the virus and dogs are at a very low risk for getting the novel corona virus.
What animals can be infected with Covid 19?
Cats, tigers, lions, dogs have been detected with the novel coronavirus. In addition to this, experimental infection of ferrets and hamsters have been detected under laboratory conditions. Cats, ferrets and hamsters may theoretically become a source of infection for humans. Dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks have not shown any risk of becoming carriers of the disease and infecting humans. Having said that, the primary mode of transmission of the virus remains human to human spread and no animal or pet is a considerable risk for infecting humans.
Can humans infect dogs with Corona virus?
With the current information available, it seems possible that dogs in close contact with Covid 19 patients can get the coronavirus. But, less than 20 pets around the world have tested positive for the virus with very few being dogs. So, the chances for infection of the dogs are very low. Also, dogs do not seem to be affected the same way as humans or cats and show no symptoms and are expected to make a full recovery. Having said that, it is always better to err on the side of caution and follow safety guidelines. If you are diagnosed with Covid-19, you should limit contact with dogs and any other pets that you may have.
As of now, there is absolutely no evidence that dogs who have tested positive for SARS COV-2 can transmit it to humans. In addition to this, infected dogs have not shown any symptoms and are hence unlikely to transmit the virus to dog owners.
Is there a Covid 19 vaccine for dogs?
The SARS COV-2 virus is a novel Corona virus which we have never faced before. Hence, there is no vaccine currently available for humans or animals. There is a coronavirus that causes Canine Coronavirus disease in dogs (CCov) which is an intestinal infection and is entirely unrelated to Covid 19. There is a vaccine for canine coronavirus which can be administered by your vet. But, this offers absolutely no protection against the SARS COV-2 virus. It is unlikely that a Covid 19 vaccine for dogs would be developed in the near future especially since dogs seem very unlikely to be affected by it.
Covid 19 safety measures for dogs
- Avoid contact with people and other animals
Limit the interaction of your dog to pets and humans of the same household and avoid contact with other people and pets.
- Maintain distance during walks
Leash your dog and maintain 6 feet distance from other humans and pets during walks. Avoid going to crowded places.
- No masks for your dogs
Although you should be wearing a mask whenever you step outdoors, do not make your dog wear a mask. It does not help and makes your dog uncomfortable.
- Avoid contact if you’re Covid 19 positive
If you’re currently diagnosed with Covid-19, it is best to avoid any interaction with your dog. If you are unable to eliminate contact; avoid snuggling, kissing and other forms of close contact.
- Stock up on essentials
Ensure that you have adequate food supply and other essential items in case any of the household members need to be quarantined.
- Keep yourself updated
Keep yourself updated with the latest guidelines on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association websites.
With the current information at hand, all the evidence points out to an extremely low risk of infection of dogs with the novel coronavirus and an even lower risk of transmission from dogs to humans. Hence, dog owners can put their mind at ease and take precautionary measures during this pandemic