Updated Jun 2nd 2020:
We will keep updating this article as more new and important information comes to light.
We ask you to consider the wider implications of this pandemic, including the abandonment of dogs across our country, and if possible help rehoming organizations however you can in these difficult times.
Table of Contents
- Following the Virus
- Can Coronavirus Spread to Our Dogs?
- What Should You Do If You Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus and Have a Pet in the Home
- What to Stock up On
- Is it Safe to Go to Dog Parks?
- Is it Safe to Take my Dog for a Walk?
- Indoor Activities for Your Dog
- Final Thoughts
Like many of you, my family and I are concerned about the coronavirus.
We want to do our part in reducing the speed and spread of the infection.
We have opted to practice social distancing and remain home as much as possible.
I have followed COVID-19 with all of you and have taken the proper precautionary steps in ensuring our family is set for the next couple of weeks.
Though we have not hoarded items, we have picked up food and medicine so we can avoid going out unnecessarily.
Amongst the many necessities for the humans in the house, I have also ensured our cat and dogs will be equally comfortable while we wait this out.
As I have watched the progression of COVID-19, I have paid particular attention to any news impacting our furry friends.
Following the Virus
Since I have multiple seniors in our fur family, I have had concerns for their safety in the event COVID-19 was transferable to them.
Because many dog lovers are likely to be in the same boat, I thought it would be best to share some of the information I have gathered, as well as some best practices to aid in dealing with the current situation as it pertains to our dogs.
Also, as we all may be feeling overwhelmed, it is quite possible to overlook our dog’s needs during this time.
Many of us are concerned about the lack of necessities, such as TP and hand sanitizer, that it is easy to forget to grab an extra bag of dog food or order their prescriptions early.
However, I am guessing that if you are reading this, you are looking after the needs of your pup.
A friendly reminder to friends and family will likely go a long way in ensuring their four-legged loved ones are being seen after as well.
It appears so, though it also seems to be rare.
In early March, a single case of COVID-19 was found in a dog in Hong Kong.
As the University of Hong Kong, City University, and the World Organisation for Animal Health continued to investigate the case, it is believed the Pomeranian contracted a “low level” infection from its human who was confirmed to have COVID-19.
During their testing, they have also established that the transmission of COVID-19 is only contagious from humans to animals but not the other way around.
The World Health Organization also declared the spread of the COVID-19 is strictly due to humans and has nothing to do with animals.
Additionally, they state a similar situation occurred during the SARS outbreak.
Pets were susceptible to a low-level infection from their humans but did not become ill or transmit the virus to humans.
Update Jun, 2nd 2020:
More cases of dogs testing positive for COVID-19 have emerged however they seem to be isolated, low-level incidents. The most notable case being a Pug named Winston from North Carolina.
The USDA was unable to verify the infection and, after further testing with the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) released a statement to this effect.
They believe that Winston tested positive because members of his family did in fact have the infection.
The CDC states that data from one study suggests that dogs are not as likely to become infected with the virus as other animals, such as cats.
However, they still recommend taking precautions such as social distancing when walking your dog and cleaning their leashes, toys, and water bowls.
It’s never a bad idea to practice good hygiene with your best friend, you could always wash their paws after a walk or, bathe them.
Though COVID-19 is not contagious from dogs to humans, the CDC has released a statement on this subject.
Those who test positive and are receiving in-home care should contact their state public health veterinarian.
The attached link is a list of all of the different offices, broken down by state.
Because health professionals are still learning more about COVID-19, they are doing all they can to ensure proper precautionary steps be taken.
Update Jun 2nd, 2020:
The CDC has released further information on this matter, they suggest restricting contact with your pet just like you would with humans and avoid petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing beds, and food.
What to Stock up On
There is not a need to go overboard on dog food since most of us have the luxury of receiving home deliveries from various online stores such as Amazon and Chewy.
So, maybe now you are wondering, why you would stock up?
The answer is: Because as COVID-19 continues to spread, it will impact delivery times.
Those working for the different companies that pack, ship, drive, and deliver your goods are all likely to be impaired by the coronavirus.
And maybe even worse than some of us since they don’t have the option to work from home.
So, you know the 2-3 day delivery we have all come to love?
It is more than likely those delivery times will become longer as things progress, if they haven’t already.
And that’s why we can no longer rely on last-minute shopping, and ensuring you have enough essentials on hand is vital.
Here’s a List to Consider
- Prescription Medications
- Preventative Medicine (Such as heartworm, tapeworm, and flea and tick treatments)
- Treats (Playing the training game will help relieve boredom for both you and your pup)
- Poop Bags (For when you go walking)
- Coconut Oil (For minor first aid)
If you are sick and need medications from your vet, let them know.
Many will deliver to your home.
My vet office offers delivery as a regular service and is especially promoting it now to lessen the foot traffic in their clinic.
Is it Safe to Go to Dog Parks?
Dog parks can be a great place to socialize and exercise your dog.
However, when practicing social distancing, it can make going to dog parks challenging since a lot of dog parents enjoy chatting while watching their dogs play together.
A better alternative to dog parks would be to go walking with your pup.
We live in the suburbs, and when we walk our dogs, we usually only see one or two people.
Even during regular times, we are never within six feet of others, so it is relatively safe.
Is it Safe to Take my Dog for a Walk?
Yes. If you are healthy, it is safe to go walking with your dog outside.
It is much safer than bringing your pup to indoor facilities such as local breweries, stores, and malls.
Though, when taking your dog out walking, it is best to go alone.
Also, find areas to walk that is less congested, maybe around the neighborhood instead of a city park.
Additionally, there are many benefits to bringing your dog out for a walk:
- Excellent stress reliever for both you and your dog – Dogs are sensitive to changes in routines and are quite in tune with our emotions, so if we are feeling stressed, our dogs know it
- Exercise helps boost both your and your dog’s immune system
- A tired dog is a happy and well-behaved dog – The last thing you need is a bored dog who has decided to use their excess energy to get into mischief
If you are sick, you and your dog will need to find alternative ways to burn off their excess energy.
Indoor Activities for Your Dog
If you are sick or not comfortable getting out walking with your dog, there are some fun indoor games to keep your dog active and entertained.
Hide and Seek
Younger dogs usually love this game.
You hide then call your dog’s name when they find you get excited and praise them.
Most dogs can keep this game going much longer than you!
Even for those with the most obedient dogs, brushing up on some old tricks or learning some new ones is a great way to engage your dog’s mind.
Most dogs can do 5-10 minutes per session, and you will be surprised how content they are afterward.
We try and do two sessions a day.
There are several great dog puzzles on the market.
Some of my favorites are:
I like this toy since it comes in two sizes, plus you can adjust the difficulty.
Additionally, it is the right size for kibble, so you can always feed them part of their meal this way.
Note this toy can be loud if you have hard floors.
My dogs love these.
They come in a variety of options, not just squirrels.
I put treats inside then place the squeaky toys back in. The dogs love this game.
This is for the very smart food-motivated dogs.
You put food in the barrel on top, and your dog needs to spin it to get the food to drop out into the puzzle bowl below.
It is essentially a two-step puzzle.
However, if your dog isn’t food motivated, like Ginger and Cal, this won’t work too well.
I love these treat balls for my dogs.
They come in several sizes, shapes, levels of difficulty, and you can purchase dental chew refills, or you can fill it with treats.
But what I really like about these is that they are durable!
We are experiencing a very challenging time, but if we take the proper precautions, hopefully, this will all blow over soon.
In the meantime enjoy some good quality time with your pup.
I hope you and your dogs all stay safe and healthy.
Still Have Questions?
Ask a Vet!