While a lot of cities are beginning to reopen after being placed on lockdown measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us are now preparing ourselves and our families for what will now be the new normal, and this most definitely includes our pet dogs. Responsible fur moms and dads should be able to help their fur babies to transition to a new routine as we adjust to life post-quarantine.
As we get ready to go back out there and brave the new reality of living amidst the threat of COVID-19, we naturally want to more about how we can protect our pets from the disease.
Here are frequently asked questions about what the experts have answered.
1. Can dogs get COVID-19?
It has been reported that dogs and other animals can be infected with SARS-CoV-2 or the virus that causes COVID-19.
The first domesticated dog that has been reported to be infected is a pug owned by a pediatrician who happens to be a participant in an ongoing laboratory COVID-19 study. The dog showed mild signs of being sick for several days. Incidentally, other members of the family also tested positive, while the family's cat tested negative.
The first reported animal that has tested positive for the virus is a tiger in a New York City zoo that has been exposed to a zoo staff that eventually tested positive, as well. Similarly, there are also a number of domesticated cats that tested positive for the virus, as well.
2. Can dogs pass the virus to other animals or humans?
There has been no conclusive study that showed dogs can transmit the virus to humans. However, many other strains of coronavirus can go from an animal host to a human host. In fact, other coronavirus outbreaks in the past have been transmitted from animals to humans. Such is the case for SARS which came from masked palm civet, and MERS which originated from camels.
3. How do I know if my dog has COVID-19?
Dogs have what vets call canine coronavirus, but this is a different strain from SARS-CoV2. If you know that your dog has been exposed to someone who has tested positive from the virus and began showing signs of being ill, call your pet's veterinarian as soon as possible.
4. Does my dog need a mask when in public?
While some people still prefer to wear a mask in public as a safety precaution, dogs do not need one when you take them outside. Dog masks, even if they are advertised as such, can cause difficulty in breathing and even suffocation. What you can do is to closely monitor your dog's behavior outside and ensure physical distancing between them and humans and other dogs.
5. Does my dog need to be on a leash at all times?
The same rules apply when it comes to walking your dogs with or without a leash. In certain places, dogs are required to be on a leash. But there are off-lead areas where you can let them loose but with your supervision at all times.
6. If I or anyone in our household tests positive, how can we continue taking care of our dog?
If a person in your household has tested positive, it is best to isolate that person from everyone in the house, including pets to reduce the chances of transmission. Other members of the family can continue taking care of the dog as per usual. However, if you are alone and no other person in your home can take care of your dog, it would be best to limit your exposure to your pet.
As we transition to the new normal, it is important to continue to keep ourselves safe and healthy. Practice the appropriate measures to protect yourself from the virus, as well as your beloved furry friend.
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