These are interesting times we’re living in, and as hard as it might be, it’s important for us to remember that this too shall pass.

Amidst all the confusion, many pet parents are wondering how they can keep their pets safe at this time. There are many questions people are asking about their pets, and a lot of misinformation making people nervous.

We thought we’d help out by gathering all the information we could about coronavirus and pets and share it with you. Be sure to share this info with others!

Remember, your pet depends on you. You have to keep yourself healthy to be able to provide for them, so always keep that in mind as well.

Coronavirus and Pets

Can my pet get or transmit Covid-19?

At this time, experts are saying that it is very unlikely. The World Health Organization states that there is no evidence to suggest that dogs or cats can be infected. The World Organisation for Animal Health also states there’s no evidence that dogs can spread the disease or that they can become sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also chimed in, stating that there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19.

What about the 2 dogs in Hong Kong who tested weak positive? These 2 cases were of dogs whose owners had the virus, and were thus shedding it in massive quantities. The dogs never got sick or showed any types of symptoms. The one who passed was 17 and vets determined it was not linked to the virus 🙁

However, while it is highly unlikely that your pet can become infected or pass the infection on to you, there is some concern that pets may be able to carry it in their fur. For example, it is possible that a person with the virus could sneeze on their their pet, and then another individual could touch that animal and get it. But, and this is important, veterinary experts believe the risk is low. That said, it’s not a bad idea to practice social distancing for your pet – don’t let others pet your dog (you shouldn’t be around others anyway), and if you’re sick, keep your pet away from other people and animals, just as you would yourself.

Can I still walk my dog?

Social distancing is really important right now in order to flatten the curve. That means the dog park is off the table, and getting a group together for a pack walk in the woods is too. But, your dog still needs to get outside, so what are your options?

So far, you’re good to walk. But there are a few caveats. Before taking a walk, check your local regulations. Before and after a walk, wash your hands, wipe down your animal’s leash, collar, harness, etc. Walk alone – don’t treat it like a social event. Stay far away from others when you’re out. Try not to touch anything when you’re walking. Stick to areas that are not well-populated. If you live in a big city, considering heading to less-heavily-trafficked blocks, or walk at less busy times of the day. Plan your route to avoid others. And remember, if someone asks to pet your dog, just say no.

Now, if you’re sick and in quarantine, this may be a bit more difficult. But, your pet still needs exercise, both physical and mental. If you’re able, spend lots of time outdoors in your own yard tossing around a frisbee or doing some agility. Inside, play games with your pet, do training exercises, anything to work out those brain cells!

Can I still pet my dog?

Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Honestly, this is one of the BEST things you can do, for both your pet and yourself!!

Petting your dog is actually great for reliving anxiety and stress, something a lot of us are feeling right now. Research shows that petting a dog releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, and lowers the levels of stress hormone cortisol!!

Research also shows that petting your dog can lower your blood pressure, which is never a bad idea!

Remember, this may be a really confusing time for your pet too! If you find yourself working from home right now, but that’s not normally the case, your pet might be wondering what’s up. If you’re usually very social, spending time out in society with your pet, but have stopped because of social distancing, again, your animal might notice. Spend some extra time loving up your pet. Snuggle on the couch, set up their bed at your feet in the office, give them lots of attention.

Is there a vaccine for coronavirus and pets?

You may be familiar with the canine coronavirus vaccine, but let us be very clear – this is NOT a vaccine for this virus. No vet should be administering this vaccine as a way to reduce the risk for you or your pet. There is no vaccine for COVID-19 for people or animals at this time.

How can I protect my pet?

Since your pet is at minimal risk of infection, there isn’t really anything specific you should be doing for their health, aside from keeping them safe in isolation with you.

Of course, there are things you need to be doing to protect yourself and that will help you stay healthy to be able to care for your pet. You’ve likely heard them all before, but just in case, this is what the CDC recommends:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  3. Avoid close contact with sick people
  4. Stay home when you are sick
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw it away
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  7. Voluntary home isolation: If you are ill with symptoms of respiratory disease, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue, stay home. The CDC recommends that you remain at home until at least 24 hours after you are free of fever (100 degrees F) or signs of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  8. Veterinary practices should designate their clinic as a temporary NO HANDSHAKE ZONE. Ask colleagues and clients to refrain from shaking hands

Coronavirus and Pets: Final Thoughts

There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there surrounding coronavirus and pets, but just do your research. Show your pet lots of extra love in this confusing time, and let them soothe you! They’re family, and they want you to be healthy too!