Canines and the Coronavirus

The year 2020 will always be marked as the year the world was changed by a single virus.

The current outbreak was first found in 2019 in Wuhan, China but was reported to spread to the United States on January 21, 2020. The virus spreads person-to-person causing respiratory distress and fevers. COVID-19 is named after the latin word “corona”, meaning crown, because of the way the virus particles that extend out resemble a crown.

You are certainly among many dog owners, if you have thought to yourself over these past few months:

Do dogs have the ability to spread COVID-19?

It appears that the transmission of the virus from human to dog is possible, but very unlikely at this time. And the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) as well as the WHO (World Health Organization) report that the risk of animals spreading the virus to humans appears to be very low.

Is your dog in danger of contracting the virus?

To date, there are only a handful of pets in the world who have tested positive for COVID-19. Because of circumstances related to exposure and the mild symptoms of a few, it’s impossible to determine if the virus was the only cause of those symptoms. It appears that the transmission of the virus from human to dog is possible, but very unlikely at this time.

Managing Pets in a Home Where Someone has COVID-19

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has great guidelines on how to keep you and your pet safe during this time as well as what to do if you or someone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and live with a dog.

  • If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are confirmed to have it, you should keep adequate distance from pets just as you would with people.
  • Keep your own pets a safe distance from anyone outside the home, a minimum of six feet.
  • This situation is quickly evolving so information will be released as soon as it becomes available.

COVID for Canines

Now to make things a little more complicated, coronaviruses have multiple strains so there is one that is specific to dogs called the Canine Coronavirus Disease (CCoV). However this is different from the COVID-19 virus that has caused the current pandemic and is not found in people.

CCoV is an intestinal infection opposed to causing respiratory disease like COVID-19 does.

Moving Forward

As we navigate the best precautions for staying healthy through this pandemic, it’s helpful to have the guidance from these dedicated organizations who have gathered the most accurate information for us to follow.

Since we don’t know everything about how the virus spreads, the CDC and World Organization for Animal Health urges people to keep distance from pets and animals if experiencing symptoms, or the virus itself. If you and your family are thankfully healthy, contact with only your own pet is advised.

Hopefully as the summer approaches and we start to get back to normal, the numbers can keep decreasing as we take all the recommended precautions in public. 

Take care and stay safe!

Sources: AKC Canine Health Foundation - WHOCDC - VCA Hospitals