Dogs and Covid-19
Dogs can feel under the weather sometimes, just like us. They might occasionally catch a dog version of the common cold, and are usually able to kick it quickly with their strong immune systems. But what about Covid-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Worried about your dog and Covid-19? Here’s what you need to know.
Can Dogs Get Covid-19?
It’s extremely rare.
Although there is some evidence that animals can get covid from humans, many of those cases are in zoo animals and on mink farms. A very small number of dogs (and cats) have been become infected with covid-19 after close contact with people who are infected with Covid-19.
Can Dogs Get Sick from Covid?
Most dogs have mild symptoms and fully recover. Serious infections are extremely rare. If someone in your household is infected with Covid-19, watch your dog for any of these new or unexplained symptoms:
- nasal discharge
- loss of appetite
- difficulty breathing
- vomiting or diarrhea
Inflammation of the Heart (Myocarditis)
A rise in cases of inflamed heart muscle in dogs (from 1% to 12%) corresponded with a rise in human covid-19 cases in Europe. This observation alerted vets to a possible link between Covid-19 and canine myocarditis. Subsequently, when cases of human covid-19 dropped following a large vaccination campaign, the cases of myocarditis in dogs also dropped. This observation seemed to confirm a possible link. Although the evidence is not substantial, looking out for this potentially serious condition is warranted.
Can I Test My Dog for Covid-19?
Testing dogs for Covid-19 is not currently recommended, unless all other reasons for illness have been ruled out. This is because of the low risk and incidence of canine Covid-19 infection.
If your vet has determined that your dog is infected with Covid-19, follow her instructions which may include:
- keeping your pet away from others in the household
- giving them lots of fresh air outdoors in a fenced yard
- optimizing their nutrition, fluids and supporting fever and uncomfortable symptoms
Can Dogs Spread Covid?
Based on the available information, evidence suggests that dogs do not play a signifiant role in spreading covid to humans through fur, skin or hair.
What Should I Do if Someone in my Household has Covid-19?
if you have Covid-19, suspect you have Covid-19, are being tested, have any symptoms or live with someone that has Covid-19:
- While recovering, avoid cuddling, licks, close contact and sharing bedding
- Don’t cough or sneeze around your dog
- Never wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other products, such as hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners
- There is no reason to have someone outside your household look after your dog while you’re recovering, unless you become unable to care for the dog
What’s the Safest Way to Walk My Dog in My Neighbourhood?
Spreading Covid-19 through dog fur, skin or hair is extremely rare. However, if you’re being especially cautious, follow these tips when you’re walking with your dog:
- Walk dogs on a leash 2m (6 feet) away from others to protect them from interacting with people outside the household
- Avoid public places where large numbers of people gather
- Avoid touching other dogs
- Dogs will naturally approach other dogs to sniff. Sniffing is a very low risk activity
- Never put a mask on pets. Masks could harm your pet
- Wash your hands before and after touching a dog and keep hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth until you’ve washed them
- Give them some extra playtime in the backyard so they get the stimulation and social interaction they need
Can Dogs Detect Covid?
Dogs are being trained to detect Covid-19 in people. Trainers are finding that dogs are 94% accurate with just a one second sniff!
Information is constantly changing. Check for the most up to date information from reliable sources, including the CDC, the WHO, your local and federal public health specialists and trusted natural and conventional health care providers.