Can My Dog or Cat Get Corona Virus?

It is very unlikely that dogs or cats will be infected with the coronavirus. Understandably, many of us are concerned about contracting the coronavirus, or are concerned that your pet might get sick. Luckily, initial studies show that pets are not at risk. 

Much is still unknown about the coronavirus and pets. That’s why we answer the most frequently asked questions in this article. Pawsdoc at your service.

Can pets get corona virus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is currently no evidence that pets, including dogs and cats, can become infected with the coronavirus. There is also no evidence that pets can be a source of COVID-19 for humans or other animals.

What do I do with my pet if I am infected?

If you are infected with the coronavirus and are currently staying in home isolation, it is wise to follow the general hygiene measures for handling pets from the WHO. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and regularly clean surfaces such as the box, the food bowl and the area around it.

While there are no reports of pets or other animals becoming infected, it is still recommended that people who are infected limit contact with animals until more information about the virus is known. 

Ask a family member or friend if he or she can take over the pet care. If no one else can take care of your pet or you need to be around animals while infected, wash your hands with soap and water before and after contact with the animal and wear a mask.

I have heard that three pets have tested positive for the coronavirus, is this correct?

Two dogs in Hong Kong have been quarantined and tested for the coronavirus. The two pet owners had become infected with the virus, after which the dogs were also tested. 

Both dogs tested ‘weakly positive’. However, the dogs did not develop any signs of the virus. According to Belgian media, a cat would have tested positive for COVID-19, after his owner became ill. 

These are rare cases and not a cause for concern. If your pet becomes ill and your animal has been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you can contact the vet. 

At this time, there is no evidence that pets can be a source of infection for humans, or for the spread of the virus. However, it is important to observe the general hygiene measures for handling pets. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you spend time with your pet.

Can I still safely walk my dog?

WHO indicates that pets do not necessarily have to stay indoors. Dogs can therefore simply be walked. Make sure you keep at least a meter and a half distance from other pet owners. You should try to avoid crowded places when walking your pet. 

What if my pet gets sick?

Pets can get sick from many things. There is currently no evidence that your pet can become infected with the coronavirus. If your pet gets sick and you cannot explain what is wrong, contact the vet. 

They will tell you if it is necessary to visit. It is not necessary to provide your pet with a mouth mask. This will hinder your pet’s breathing and can lead to a lot of stress.

Can I vaccinate my pet against the coronavirus?

Several coronaviruses exist. For example, SARS is also a coronavirus, just as COVID-19 is a coronavirus. The vaccinations against coronavirus for dogs protect the animals against other coronaviruses, such as an enteric (digestive system) coronavirus infection (CCoV). 

These vaccinations do not protect against respiratory infections. So there is no evidence that corona vaccination in dogs also works against COVID-19.

Can I still go to the vet with my pet?

Unfortunately, vets and caregivers are not included in the list of vital occupational groups to keep society going during the COVID-19 outbreak. Fortunately, veterinarians are very motivated to help animals. 

It is possible that there are some restrictions. When it comes to a medical emergency, you can usually go to a veterinarian nearby. If you want to make another appointment, check the vet’s website or contact us to see if the practice is open.

What if my pet has been in contact with someone who has the coronavirus?

It is not necessary to take measures. WHOs general hygiene measures for handling pets also apply here. As mentioned earlier, there is currently no evidence that pets can be infected with the coronavirus. If your pet gets sick after contact with an infected person, it is wise to contact the vet.

Can my pet take the coronavirus from the outside in? 

Your pet might take the virus with you when COVID-19 is on the street, for example because an infected person is coughing outside or spitting on the floor. But that chance is very small. 

The same applies to your shoes, for example, so it is recommended to have outdoor shoes and indoor shoes. If you have reason to be extra careful or do not trust it, you can wash your dog’s legs after walking. 

Do not use alcohol or disinfectants! This is bad for your pet. Just washing with shampoo especially for your pet is sufficient. You don’t have to wash your pet from head to toe every day; that is even harmful to your animal’s skin.

Can I still hug my pet?

You can certainly still hug your animal. Kissing is never a good idea, because both dogs and cats, like us humans, carry bacteria in their mouths that can cause illness. Do not hug dogs or cats that look angry or anxious. 

They may be stressed and may bite. This is especially important for children as they cannot read animal behaviour properly. Always wash your hands after cuddling or stroking. The animals can carry microbes, which you wash off with hand washing. 

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