What You Need To Know About Dogs & Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has brought the entire world to a standstill. 

Globally, more than 200,000 people have been affected by the disease and almost 8,700 people have died.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a pandemic.

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Within a span of a few months, the virus took a dangerous turn forcing even EU countries to partially close their borders and restrict inter-country traveling.

Trying to deal with the problems created by the crisis, hundreds of people are left stranded in foreign lands.

The virus poses a lot of challenges for animals as well. If you are a pet owner, this article is just for you.

Ever since a video of a Chinese market, in which hundreds of people were seen buying meat of wild animals, went viral, there have been rumors that the virus came from animals. As a result, people with pets began worrying about the dangers their pets might pose to them. However, studies have ruled out the possibility of domestic animals being the carrier of the disease.

There is no denying that the coronavirus has created panic across the world even though there is no data that strongly suggests to what extent the animals get affected, pet owners are still recommended to exercise care. Here are some tips that pet owners must follow for the safety of their dogs.

They might!

Fomite is the name given to surfaces that can transmit the disease. From your laptop to your phone to even your dog’s body, most surfaces can be regarded as fomites. How dogs may catch the disease is simple. People who suffer from the virus have live virus in their stool or droplets from coughing or sneezing. So, if the same person coughs on their hand and then use it to pet their dogs, they are likely to transmit the disease to the pets. This is why healthcare providers urge people to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.

Here, we will talk about what you can do to keep your pets safe and whether it is justified to be concerned about the health of your furry friend. 

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What Is COVID-19?

It is a life-threatening virus that first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in November 2019. Within a short time, the virus spread into the entire world, paralyzing the world’s life. Since it is a viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The two common symptoms of the condition are:

  • A high temperature
  • A continuous cough

This virus causes pneumonia-like symptoms and is said to have come from animals. While there is no sufficient evidence available to back the claim, people with pets naturally got worried when they came to know that wild animals could be the carrier of the disease.

Can Dogs Have Coronavirus?

Ever since a video of a Chinese market, in which hundreds of people were seen buying meat of wild animals, went viral, there have been rumors that the virus came from animals. As a result, people with pets began worrying about the dangers their pets might pose to them. However, studies have ruled out the possibility of domestic animals being the carrier of the disease.  See what the CDC has to say here!

This isn’t all!

Hong Kong became the first country to report the first dog death after release from coronavirus quarantine. Whether or not the dog died from the virus is uncertain as the owner – who also recovered from the virus recently – denied autopsy. The available data shows that the dog was tested “weak-positive” for the virus. This news has shocked animal lovers to the core.

According to WHO, there is no strong evidence to show that dogs can catch the virus. It has also clarified that even though there has been one case of a dog being infected, there is no evidence that can suggest that “a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19”.

Phew!

As comforting this statement is, it doesn’t imply that pet owners shouldn’t pay attention to the safety of their pets. Following the death of the dog, Hong Kong authorities warned pet owners to avoid kissing and petting their furry friends. They have also explained people that there is no need to abandon the pets as there hasn’t been a case of animal-to-human transmission yet.

Can Animals Be Fomites?

They might!

Fomite is the name given to surfaces that can transmit the disease. From your laptop to your phone to even your dog’s body, most surfaces can be regarded as fomites. How dogs may catch the disease is simple. People who suffer from the virus have live virus in their stool or droplets from coughing or sneezing. So, if the same person coughs on their hand and then use it to pet their dogs, they are likely to transmit the disease to the pets. This is why healthcare providers urge people to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.

It is also important to mention that there is no strong evidence that can claim the above mentioned transmission claim. Still, as they say, “prevention is better than the cure”, people should exercise caution when they are with their pets.

What Should Concerned Pet Owners Do?

There is no denying that the coronavirus has created panic across the world even though there is no data that strongly suggests to what extent the animals get affected, pet owners are still recommended to exercise care. Here are some tips that pet owners must follow for the safety of their dogs.

1.    Build an Emergency Kit

In an environment where the possibility of lockdown is getting higher, it is crucial that you think make arrangements for dog food. Consult with your pet’s vet and find out the essential medicines that you must have to keep your pet safe. In the same manner, it is also important to invest in other pet essentials such as the litter and the food. Also, ensure that your pets are wearing tags with their updated information – name, the phone number of the owner, etc.

2.    Designate a Caregiver

For the circumstances where you’re unable to provide care to your pet, it is important to designate someone to take care of your pet. Prepare a list of your pet’s food preference, medical conditions, etc.

3.    Maintain Distance

One of the precautionary measures that you can take against the virus is to maintain social distancing. People are advised to not shake hands or hug when they are meeting each other. Similarly, it is also essential to avoid giving kisses to your pets and maintain some distance. Pet owners who have been tested positive should stop all kinds of contact with their furry friends.

4.    Don’t Abandon

Don’t let your fears consume you. Your pets are safe and will not put you in danger. You should use reason and must not consider abandoning them. Your pets are your responsibility and in desperate times, they need your attention and care even more. So, make sure that you’re with them. Abandoning your pets will put their life in danger; hence, be a responsible pet owner and exercise caution.

The Final Word

The coronavirus pandemic has caused uncertainty across the world. Global movements are being restricted and the entire world is in a partial lockdown. Such circumstances may cause people to over panic and take rational decisions.

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