For the most up-to-date information, we recommend visiting the World Health Organization (WHO) website. Currently, WHO has stated, “there is no evidence that dogs or cats can get coronavirus or any pet can transmit COVID-19”.
In a world that is rapidly changing as people try to slow down the spread of a novel virus, finding reputable information about how the virus affects our pets can be challenging.
We want to know…Can a dog get coronavirus? Can a human get the virus from their dog?
As we stated in our opening paragraph, currently WHO has stated that there is no evidence that dogs can catch the virus or share it with their humans. Which is great news for all of us!
But, despite this information, there have been instances of people relinquishing their dogs to shelters or rescues for fear of them coming in contact with the virus.
Why? Because there is a lot of information being spread rapidly via various websites and social media, and unfortunately, not all of the information is accurate.
Be Careful of Misinformation!
Panic creates chaos. People have wrongfully ingested solutions they thought would lead to preventing them getting the virus, and instead have resulted in death or hospitalization. Local officials of a village in Zhejiang province asked all residents to quarantine animals and slaughtered all stray dogs on the street when the daily death toll reached its peak in China. Another village in China made a similar rule at the end of January to kill animals to contain the spread of the virus.
Where do you find the truth?
We recommend consulting with your veterinarian, reading articles on the Center for Disease Control, or the World Health Organization.
You can also find accurate information in veterinary and science journals. If you do not have access to those resources, your veterinarian has most certainly read any recent releases regarding the virus and our pets and is prepared to share any findings with you should you be concerned.
Can your Chihuahua get the virus from you?
Currently, there is no research to support human to animal infection. However, there was one instance of a Pomeranian and one instance of a German Shepherd (both in China) which tested “weakly positive” for the virus in very sensitive tests that detected viral RNA in nose and mouth samples. “The dog has a low-level of infection of the coronavirus and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission,” AFCD wrote. “We strongly advise that mammalian pet animals including dogs and cats from households with … infected persons should be put under quarantine … to safeguard public and animal health.” ~ AAAS Science
However, cats and dogs are mammals too. They have many of the same types of receptors on their cells that we do. So, theoretically, the virus could attach to these receptors just as it can to ours. But, in all probability, it will not enter their cells and replicate. So, at this time, it is recommended that people infected with coronavirus should limit contact with their pets. At the very minimum, recommendations include: washing your hands and not allowing your pets to lick you on the face.
Will they begin testing the pets of those who are infected?
This is something that scientists say should be discussed if more cases of infected pets should occur. However, it is not a top priority at this time.
Can dogs be carriers and pass it onto humans?
As we stated in our opening paragraph, currently WHO has stated that there is no evidence that dogs can catch the virus or share it with their humans. If research changes, and it is determined pets can become infected, then it is also possible they could be carriers. BUT DON’T PANIC. We are now months into research of the virus and so far pets have been determined to be safe. If that research were to change, our dogs would have to be quarantined just like humans that are infected.
What can we do to keep our dogs and ourselves safe?
Currently, CDC guidelines include wearing a mask when leaving your home to help prevent the spread of the virus. While gloves are not necessary, fastidious hand washing is encouraged. You should also regularly disinfect commonly touched items in your home and car these may include: cell phones, wallets, steering wheel/seats, doorknobs, light switches (if you touch it daily, be sure to disinfect it).
You may also want to consider a plan for your pets in the event that you should contract the coronavirus and can not leave the hospital. Make sure that you have extra food on hand and that your neighbors (or whoever you plan on leaving in charge of your pets) are aware of any feeding, walking, or medications that your dogs need. If you are unable to have someone care for your pets in your own home in the event that you are hospitalized, you may want to prepare an emergency kit with everything your dog will need for two weeks and put it where it can be easily found, then notify your emergency contact where to find it in case you need them to care for your pets while you are away or quarantined.
Stay safe. If you need a supportive Chihuahua community during this time (no political posts), please consider joining our Facebook community.
Little Critters Veterinary Hospital (specializes in small dog reproduction)
World Health Organization
Center for Disease Control