Can dogs catch coronavirus? – The Hippocratic Post

Can my dog become unwell from COVID-19?
No. There have been no cases of dogs becoming unwell from this new type of coronavirus.

If your dog is unwell then it is very unlikely that COVID-19 is the cause of their illness, but it is still important that you contact your vet to find out what is causing their illness.

Can dogs transmit this new coronavirus?
COVID-19 is mostly spreading from person to person when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or speaks. It seems unlikely that there is any risk of coronavirus being transmitted to humans from dogs.

The World Health Organisation says:

“While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19.”

If dogs aren’t transmitting COVID-19, why did one in Hong Kong test positive?
So far, only one dog has tested positive for coronavirus. The dog had swabs taken from its nose and mouth and these samples were found to be ‘weak positive’. The dog had no signs of disease and its blood samples were negative for antibodies. It’s believed that the positive results were due to the dog breathing in contaminated air from the infected owner. Later tests showed that the blood sample tested negative.

As with any surface, if someone with COVID-19 touches, sneezes or coughs on a dog, the virus could temporarily contaminate them. Although we don’t know how long COVID-19 can survive on surfaces, scientists think that it could range from a few hours to several days, depending on the type of surface, how warm it is and levels of humidity.

What precautions should I take with my own dogs?
If possible try to avoid them licking your face. Bath your dog often and regularly wash your hands with soap and water after touching them. This advice is generally good practice as dogs can sometimes carry common bacteria which can also be passed on to humans.

Never put alcohol-based hand wash or disinfectants on your dog, as this could irritate their skin or may be poisonous if it’s licked.

Are there any precautions I should be taking with other people’s dogs?
We’re all avoiding getting too close to other people and it’s b estto avoid stroking other people’s dogs too. If you do pet a stranger’s dog, remember to clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand gel afterwards, or wash your hands with soap and warm water.

If I’m quarantined can I ask a friend or neighbour to walk my dog?
If you are at home because you have shown signs of coronavirus (persistent cough or high temperature etc.) then you should keep your dog in as well and only exercise them in the house or garden. If you live by yourself this should be for 7 days from when your symptoms started, or if you live with others then this should be for 14 days. This is not ideal, but you need to keep yourself and others well and safe.

Can dogs catch other types of coronavirus?
Coronavirus are a large group of viruses and there are many different types. The new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently being passed between humans and there is no evidence that it affects dogs. There are certain strains of coronavirus that do affect dogs (such as Canine Respiratory Coronavirus), but these are different from COVID-19 and cannot be passed to humans.

If this new Coronavirus originally came from animals should I be worried about my dog?
It is thought that COVID-19 originated in an animal market in China, and that the original source was likely to be some type of wildlife. Although it is believed that the virus jumped from an animal to a human, it does not mean that all animals can spread the virus. Currently there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through dogs.

Guidance for dog owners while in self isolation

The Kennel Club gives hints and tips on how to care for your dog during the coronavirus pandemic here.

Alternatively, Agria, the Kennel Club’s pet insurance company, working with Carolyn Menteith, a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor have developed some guidance of what dog owners can do with their dogs while in self isolation.  This guidance includes how owners can use the opportunity while self isolating to improve the bond with their dog, such as interactive games owners can play with their dogs,  For further information.

Photo: LightField Studios/

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