It seems odd to be positive at a time like this but as dog owners we have to consider ourselves the lucky ones. I mean, imagine being in self-isolation/quarantine/lockdown without your best friend?
And yet being a dog owner does raise concerns. Over the past few weeks I’ve been inundated with questions regarding the risk of the virus to our dogs, and even a few (much fewer, to be honest) about the risk that dog ownership has for humans. You can see the priorities! So, I thought I’d write a brief blog post detailing what we know so far and how we can combat any risks that might exist.
Risks to Your Dog
According to the Blue Cross there is no evidence to suggest that dogs (or indeed an other pet) are affected by coronavirus. The same source also affirms that there is similarly zero evidence that dogs can be carriers of the virus either. Furthermore, on the 13thof March the World Health Organisation said: “at present there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.”
Additionally the World Organisation for Animal Health issued further information last month, saying: “The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. To date, there is no evidence that companion animals spread the disease. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.”
Risks to You
Human infections are driven by person-to-person contact, however we know that the virus can continue to exist outside of a human host, on surfaces, papers etc. So it is entirely possible for the virus to exist on your dogs fur, for example, if it has been petted or stroked by an infected person. With this in mind the Blue Cross has issued further advice which I have summarize below:
- Wash your hands! – If your dog has been in contact with people whilst walking or elsewhere make sure you follow guidelines on hand washing.
- Try to maintain ‘social distancing’ for dogs too and keep them away from other dogs where possible. There are no recommendations regarding leashing, but if your dog has poor recall it may be best to keep it on a lead while outside.
- Avoid letting the dog lick your face and wash your hands after petting or playing with your dog.
- If you think your dog needs to go to the vet, the Kennel Club advises that you should call the surgery in advance. If you still need to go observe social distancing rules and wash your hands thoroughly on your return. Do NOT go to the vets if you are self-isolating.
So that’s basically where we stand, although further advice may be forthcoming from DEFRA, which I’ll be sure to pass onto you if and when. From all the available evidence it is apparent that our pets are safe, but they can be a risk to humans if we don’t follow a few simple rules.
Hope this helps – please stay safe!
If you think you may have coronavirus, follow the latest government advice found on the NHS website.
Paws Galore are experts in all aspects of dog behaviour and training and offer courses and workshops throughout the Southeast – remote courses are available throughout this isolation period. They also offer dog walking, sitting and transport services.
NB – Please remember that this article is adviceand not legal guidance.