The Coronavirus has changed all of our lives, and it’s given us many more things to worry about than ever before.
Many of us are struggling with job loss and layoffs. We’re worried about getting sick, and we’re all missing friends and loved ones as social distancing is mandated in most areas of the world.
If you share your home with a dog, you’re probably wondering how the Coronavirus can affect her. Me too, which is why I’ve struck out in search of information that will be helpful to other dog moms.
Here’s everything you need to know, from whether your pet can get sick to how to make sure your pooch gets enough exercise during quarantine.
5 Things to Know About Coronavirus and Your Dog
1. Your dog can get Coronavirus
The bad news is that dogs can become infected with COVID-19. The good news is that there are very confirmed cases of sick pets.
There’s even better news—most pets that contract the virus get it directly from an owner who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
It is suspected that those who get the virus and don’t live with a sick owner probably contracted the virus from an asymptomatic friend or family member, or interacted directly with another animal with the virus.
So far, it doesn’t appear that pets can get the Coronavirus from surfaces that contain germs, and it’s even better news that in most cases, the symptoms are relatively mild. Diarrhea is the norm, as is abdominal discomfort, but symptoms generally subside within a few days.
2. Your dog can’t spread the virus to humans
It’s scary for pet parents to know that their mutts can contract the Coronavirus, but it’s even scarier if you’re worried that your dog can pass along the virus to you and other family members.
There’s no need to find another place to keep your pooch until social distancing is over. There is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to people. If your dog develops a case of COVID-19, you can be there for him every step of the way.
3. You should contact your vet if you believe your dog is sick
If your dog is showing symptoms of Coronavirus, your first instinct is probably to take him to the vet to get tested.
Although some veterinary clinics are capable of testing for the virus, it is recommended that you don’t have your pet tested, due to the minimal risk of transmission and its relatively manageable symptoms.
Of course, there are some cases where you should request a test. The illness can be especially severe in puppies, which means younger dogs should be tested, at your veterinarian’s discretion.
If your dog is experiencing very severe symptoms, you may also request to have your dog tested.
It is also important to note that there isn’t a specific treatment for the virus in dogs, and currently there isn’t a vaccine that can prevent the virus. Staying home and providing your pooch with plenty of love, water, and food is really the best medicine.
4. Have a plan for your dog in the event you get sick
Knowing your dog can’t spread the disease should provide you with peace of mind. But because it’s possible for humans to infect dogs, it’s a good idea to social distance yourself from your pet if you test positive for Coronavirus, or if you are showing common symptoms.
If you live with others, you may have to quarantine yourself in a single room or an area of the house while your healthy family members take care of your pets.
If no one in your home can take care of your pet, ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to pick up your dog from the backyard and take care of her for 14 days or until your doctor releases you from care.
5. Stay active while social distancing with your dog
If both you and your dog are healthy, you still need to make sure she gets plenty of exercise. Physical activity is important for you, as well.
You may not be able to go to the dog park or take your pet to doggy daycare, but there are other ways to stay active during social distancing:
- Play fetch up and down the stairs
- Play tug-of-war in the backyard
- Go for a walk in your neighborhood
- Consider getting a treadmill for your dog
- Teach your dog how to play tag
Something else you might try is meditation. This is a healthy, relaxing practice for both you and your dog.
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to the Coronavirus. Armed with the knowledge that your dog can’t make you sick, and if she becomes ill, symptoms are manageable, you’ll (hopefully) worry a little less about at least one aspect of the virus that is impacting our lives.
How are you managing Coronavirus and your dog?
I’d love to know how you and your dog are maintaining a routine, staying active, and making the best of the current world situation. Leave a comment below or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there.
Disclosure: I am not a veterinarian or a medial professional. The information offered in this article is based on what I have learned through news reports and my own experience. As always, if you have specific questions, I highly recommend contacting your physician or veterinarian for guidance.