2020 has certainly been one to remember so far – mainly due to the Coronavirus pandemic which has been sweeping around the world. The infection and death rates for the virus have been highly publicised by the media, but with a certain amount of knowledge has come many myths and confusion – especially for dog owners.
Here is everything you need to know about Coronavirus and dogs with some top tips on how to protect yourself and your pets during this worrying time. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been differing information, so it is difficult to determine fact from the fiction.
Many pet owners have questions regarding COVID-19, such as can dogs catch or transmit it? What precautions should they be taking to protect themselves against Coronavirus and how can we handle isolation with our dogs. Here we explain more.
Can dogs spread or get COVID?
We have a new Cavapoo puppy joining our family in less than two weeks’ time, and it would be ignorant of us if I did not look into the impact that Coronavirus could potentially have on her health and wellbeing – not to mention ours.
However, to date, there have been no reported cases of dogs becoming unwell from this new type of virus, nor has there been any suggestion that it can be transmitted from dogs across to humans. COVID-19 is most commonly spread from person to person when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or speaks.
There have, however, been a handful of cases of Canine Respiratory Coronavirus in America and Hong Kong, where dogs have contracted COVID-19 from their owners. The dogs themselves did not display any signs of the disease, and in each case their blood samples tested negative for antibodies. It is therefore believed that these dogs simply breathed in contaminated air from their infected owners.
The World Health Organisation state that dogs are not easily infected with Coronavirus, nor do they play a role in the transmitting of the disease. If your dog is unwell then it is highly unlikely that COVID-19 is the cause of their illness, however, it is still important that you contact your vet to find out what is causing their illness.
What COVID-19 precautions should I take with my dog?
Dogs still need to be walked on a regular basis and enjoy the freedom that the outdoors offers them. It is also good for your own mental health to be able to get some fresh air, so we suggest that if you are COVID-19 negative that you continue to exercise with your dog providing that you remain in-line with the guidelines for your country of residence.
As stated above, it is important that we all work together to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. So, please remember, walk your dog as much as you want, so long as you are not quarantined due to Coronavirus symptoms in your household.
Try not to get too close to other dogs (especially if social distancing rules apply) and never stroke a strangers dog. Likewise, try to encourage your pet pooch to remain by your side and in your line of sight wherever possible. Always remember to take alcohol based gel out with you and wash your hands thoroughly on return.
Try and prevent your dog from licking or breathing directly on to your face. Bathe your dog when necessary, especially if they have been rubbing up against outside areas.
How to handle self-isolation with your dog
Most of us are allowed out daily to stretch our legs and dogs provide the perfect excuse to get some much needed exercise.
If, however, you are having to stay at home because you have shown signs of Coronavirus (persistent cough or high temperature etc.) then you should try and exercise them in your house and garden, in order to keep your dog with you. If you live by yourself, current guidelines state this should be for 7 days from when your symptoms started, or if you live with others then this should be for 14 days.
Make sure you are prepared should you have to remain indoors, with plenty of dog food, poo bags and medicines to last through the quarantine period.
If you are self-isolating because you are vulnerable or suffer from underlying medical conditions, then you should follow local guidance on what you can and cannot do. Most countries will allow you to ask a friend or relative to collect your dog daily on your behalf, although social distancing measures should always be observed. Remember to avoid touching your dogs coat on their return until you have been able to clean them adequately.
Most importantly, try and enjoy having all this extra time with your dog as they can provide great company during this time of uncertainty.
You cannot control when your dog is likely to get sick and although government advice is to stay at home as much as possible and avoid contact with others, there may be instances where a trip to the vets is absolutely necessary.
Most vets are available for emergency appointments or advice over the phone so you should never be afraid to contact them. Routine procedures in most countries, however, are on hold until the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic is over.
We are lucky that our local vets still deem puppy vaccinations as essential and have already booked our Cavapoo in for her injections and puppy treatments.
Beware of puppy scammers
Due to Coronavirus and the restrictions imposed on many countries, the demand for puppies has been unprecedented with people seeking extra companionship during this stressful time. It is important to remember, however, that a dog is for life and not just for lockdown. Puppies and dogs are a full time commitment and need a lot of time, attention, and care.
Due to the increase in demand for particular breeds of dogs, such as Cavapoos, greedy breeders are cashing in by ramping up their prices to exploit the COVID-19 situation. As it is difficult to view puppies in person, scammers are also taking advantage of this and advertising puppies for sale that simply do not exist.
If you are interested in getting a Cavapoo, then please check out our blog “Questions to ask when buying a Cavapoo puppy” so that you can ensure that you purchase a healthy and happy dog from a reputable owner.
Helping your dog or puppy adjust to life post lockdown
In certain countries we are already seeing signs of the lockdown measures starting to relax as infection rates begin to diminish. Whilst this is great for the economy, our everyday routines, and our mental health; it could cause confusion for your dog.
Some dogs who were previously left for large amounts of time on their own during the day may have benefitted and become accustomed to constant company. Therefore, a change in circumstance could cause them to have separation anxiety if left alone.
Therefore, it is important that you start to get them used to spending some time without you again. This does not have to be for long periods of time but by leaving the house, even for a few minutes, and returning again, will teach them that it is ok to be alone. Remember to provide plenty of self-entertainment such as toys so that they don’t become bored in your absence.
If you are worried about the implications of Coronavirus for you and your pet dog, then please try not to be. Further advice and more frequently asked questions on COVID-19 and dogs can be found on the UK Kennel Club website or if you live in America you can click here.
Please remember that there has been no evidence to suggest that dogs can be transmitters of this deadly disease. In fact, across the world, trials have even started to see if specialist sniffer dogs can detect Coronavirus on humans before symptoms even appear. Once again proving that dogs really are a man’s best friend.