Covid-19 has since early March 2019 been classified as a worldwide pandemic. Different countries have taken different restrictive measures and no matter where you are in the world your life have been affected in one way or the other. Many people are isolated in their homes, either by choice or through governmental restrictions.
However, it is not only themselves they are worried about, it is also their pets. Through news and social media channels pets have been seen wearing protective masks and people have started pouring sanitizer on their dogs’ paws before letting them back into their house.
But can dogs really get Covid-19?
Dogs can be infected with certain types of corona viruses, such as the canine respiratory corona virus. However, despite having found some (weakly) positive cases of dogs with Covid-19 in China, it seems that dogs do not get any symptoms from this specific branch, and the dogs that has been found infected has been infected through humans.
Furthermore, the cases of dogs being infected with Covid-19 has been found to be very rare, 17 dogs where tested in Hong Kong and only 2 tested positive. This also indicates that dogs most likely are not able to spread Covid-19. This is further supported by WHO stating: “There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.”
It is believed that the strand Covid-19 first came from an animal source but that the spread goes from human to human. However, the advice is that if you have tested positive for Covid-19 it is best to leave the care of your pet to someone else but that humans in your household are in much greater risk to contract the virus then your pets are.
Is it OK to pet my dog?
You should not be afraid to pet your dog.
Science have found that the virus survives best on smooth surfaces whereas fur being a more porous surface tends to trap and absorb pathogens making the contamination risk very small through touch.
Common practice are however always to be advised. Just like you always should, it is advised to wash your hands after petting a dog and before eating.
Petting your dog during these lock down days can have a tremendous impact on your psychological well being as pets have been shown over and over to be a great source of comfort during crisis, and that they will keep you calm. If you feel anxious or stressed you should definitely go pet your dog and let them calm you down.
Is it OK to walk my dog?
YES! It is OK to walk your dog if you feel healthy. In fact, getting some exercise and fresh air is strongly advisable in order to keep both you and your dog sane and healthy. Follow your local restrictions and of course respect social distancing and you should be fine. Social distancing also goes for your dog, so they will have to wait with seeing their friends, both fur and human, for a little while but they don’t need to wear a mask when you are out.
When you get back home it is advised to wash your hands thoroughly, but bathing your dogs’ paws in sanitizer can severely damage them and is highly unadvisable. What you can do, and what you always should do, is wipe your dog’s paws off with a towel before they enter, here is how you can teach your dog to have their paws cleaned:
Should your local restrictions keep you from keeping up with your dog’s daily walking routine, it is important to keep your dog engaged and entertained otherwise to tire them out and give them that daily mental stimuli that they need. If you want inspiration on how to do that go here:
- Yes you can walk and pet your dog if you are healthy. If you are sick refrain from petting and walking your dog.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after every outing and before you eat.
- You do not need to put a mask on your dog or wash their paws with sanitizer but clean their paws with a towel before entering.
Stay safe and healthy <3