Can dogs get coronavirus (COVID-19)?

19 May 2021

Find out how to best take care of your fur-baby, and how the coronavirus affects cats and dogs.

Dog and woman with face mask - can dogs get coronavirus?

Coronavirus news. It’s everywhere. As a loving pet parent, you probably want to know what this mean for your furry buddy. If we humans are susceptible – can dogs get coronavirus too? What about cats? Don’t worry. We’ll answer your questions about dogs, cats, and the coronavirus below – so you can enjoy peace of mind with your furry friend. While we’re at it, check out our tips for boosting your dog’s immune system.

So, can dogs get coronavirus?

Yes – despite early reports, it’s now clear that both dogs and cats can be infected by Covid-19. There have been several cases documented in the United States and elsewhere. However, it doesn’t seem to happen often. And the good news, according to the CDC, is that so far, there is no known case of a dog or cat passing away due to coronavirus.

Symptoms of Covid-19 in dogs

It can be hard to spot Covid-19 in dogs due to its symptoms being quite similar to the flu, as well as the fact that dogs and cats may experience a symptom-free version. However some symptoms experienced by a dog or cat with the coronavirus may be:

  • high fever
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • eye discharge
  • shortness of breath
  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

If you suspect your dog might have Covid-19, it’s best to first call your vet for recommendations. While there are currently no special treatments for coronavirus in our four-legged friends, you can read more about what to do if your pet has coronavirus here.

🛈 Did you know? Researchers in Dortmund are currently working on an electronic “Dog Nose” that can sniff out Covid-19. It’s a device with sensitive, dog-inspired sensors that can tell from your breath if you might have the virus.

Can dogs pass on coronavirus to humans?

In general, it is possible for some coronaviruses to be transmitted from infected animals to humans – the outbreak of Covid-19 likely originated in bats after all. However coronavirus is most likely to be spread human to human, when germs are passed on via droplets while coughing, sneezing or speaking at a close distance.

According to the World Health Organization, there is some evidence to suggest that minks may have been able to pass on the coronavirus to humans.

However, the risk of animals passing on the virus to humans is now considered to be very low. In theory, it’s not impossible – but is is unlikely that your dog will pass on coronavirus to you.

Still – the WHO still recommends washing hands with soap and water after contact with house pets, just to be on the safe side. That can also protect you from nasty bacteria like salmonella or e-coli.

We know it’s tough, but this means it’s best to resist the urge to cuddle and comfort your furry friend in case they’re sick.

Now that we’ve answered the question, can dogs get coronavirus, you may be wondering what you need to do in case your pet falls ill.

Do I need to tell someone if my dog or cat has Covid-19?

Your vet will be able to provide you with information in case your pet has coronavirus. But do you need to report your dog’s case of coronavirus to the authorities? The discussion so far has, understandably, been focused on humans and coronavirus. However, there’s talk in Germany about whether to make it mandatory to report a positive test. That would mean a veterinarian would have to notify the relevant authorities. The belief is that this would give experts a clearer picture of infection risk among animals.

For now, no other country seems to be trying out a similar approach – but it’s something we’re keeping our eye on.

can dogs get coronavirus

What to do if I need to isolate myself?

As a dog parent, it’s good to prep ahead for your four-legged friend as well as for yourself. Here’s some advice from RSPCA UK:

While you are ill another member of your household will need to take care of your animals and they will need to follow good hygiene practices washing their hands thoroughly after contact and any of their items e.g. bedding, food bowls.

If you’re living on your own, or need support outside of your household, it’s best to designate friends, family members or neighbors who can help in advance. But if that’s not an option, you can look into trustworthy pet sitting sites like Petsit or Pawshake. Community Facebook groups are also worth looking into.

Need support? You can always contact animal charities like ASPCA or Dog’s Trust UK to get some guidance.

Don’t forget: Have all your dog or cat’s medication and diet needs, veterinary details – and any other important information – all in one place so you can share quickly if needed.

Do pets need to go into isolation as well?

Ideally, yes, but we know that’s not necessarily possible for most pet parents. That being said, some veterinary facilities offer isolation units. As with humans, the isolation period is 2 weeks.

How to entertain your dog indoors

Been told you need to stay at home? That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Plus, it gives you some one on one time with your four-legged buddy, which is good for both of you. Have fun teaching your dog new commands indoors, and keep your dog entertained with these 10 tips. Staying busy and doing things together will keep both of you in a better mood and is great for your well-being.

We’re always doing our best to keep this guide up to date. However, this is a fast-moving topic, so it could be that it takes a bit before we add new information – this also lets us make sure it’s accurate, safe and helpful to you.

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