The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 novel coronavirus a global pandemic in March 2020. People are concerned about their health and that of their pets, as well as their health, because of panic over the spreading of the virus. There is no reason to take measures against companion animals that could compromise their welfare.

It is important to understand the facts about coronavirus. Dog owners need to be clear on the biggest question: Can dogs contract coronavirus.

Canine Coronavirus
Dogs can get coronaviruses. We know this for decades. It is most often the canine respiratory coronavirus (not COVID-19). Dogs are not at risk from the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

A May 2021 report details the discovery of a canine coronavirus among a small group of Malaysian hospitalized patients. This coronavirus is not the same as COVID-19. This report indicates correlation but not causation in these patients. At this time, there is no significant human health concern. This is due to a new test, which has a better way of detecting the changes that a virus must undergo for it to infect humans. These new findings may be useful in the future detection and treatment of coronavirus infections.

Can dogs contract COVID-19
Dogs are not at risk from COVID-19, but dogs can be tested positive.

Winston, a Pug from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was believed to have been the first dog to test positive for COVID-19. The dog was not infected by the virus, according to subsequent testing. Lyndsay Cole, a spokesperson for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, stated that although there was weak detection in the initial oral sample, this did not make it a positive. All other testing was negative. Three relatives who lived in the house, two of them being front-line health workers, tested positive for COVID-19.

Two Hong Kong pet dogs tested positive for COVID-19. Both dogs were born to COVID-19-positive owners. The cases in Hong Kong were likely to involve human-to-animal transmission. Neither dog displayed any symptoms.

What about COVID-19 in other animals?
Two New York-based pet cats have been confirmed positive for the coronavirus. One cat had mild respiratory symptoms and was living with a COVID-19-positive owner. Another cat had mild respiratory symptoms. According to the CDC, no one in the household was confirmed to have COVID-19. This virus could have been passed to the cat from mildly ill or asymptomatic members of the household or by contact with an infected person in its home. Two cats in Hong Kong and one Belgia tested positive for COVID-19. Both cats were born to COVID-19-positive owners.

Nadia, a four-year-old Malayan tiger female from New York’s Bronx Zoo, was the first to be infected with COVID-19 in an American animal. The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo, has confirmed that eight large cats have been infected by the coronavirus known SARS-CoV-2. “All eight cats are doing well. According to WCS, they are acting normally, eating well and their coughing has greatly decreased. Nadia was anesthetized to collect samples of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract. Other cats were subject to fecal sampling.

Can dogs spread COVID-19
According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that any animal, whether a cat, dog, or pet, can transmit COVID-19. Droplets of COVID-19 are spread when an infected person cough, sneeze, or speak. You can protect your skin by washing your hands often and thoroughly. Also, a cloth covering your face can help to reduce the spread of droplets.

According to the CDC, although this virus appears to have originated from an animal source it is now spreading from person to person.

Is it safe to pet my dog?
The AVMA states that petting a dog’s hair is a low-risk activity. Gail Golab, Chief Veterinary Officer at the AVMA, says that people are not likely to contract COVID-19 from contact with dogs or cats.

Dr. Jerry Klein is the Chief Veterinary Officer of AKC. He urges us to use common sense when dealing with our pets. “The practice of washing your hands after touching a puppy, or dog is normal hygiene.

Can I walk my dog?
Both dogs and their owners need to exercise. Check your local regulations before you take your dog for a walk. Also, make sure to follow any stay-home rules. Dog owners who are healthy and happy should continue to walk their dogs as long as they feel comfortable. However, it is important that they follow the CDC guidelines regarding social distancing, wearing a covering over their nose and mouth, and keeping them covered. Even if it means changing your dog’s walking schedule, be sure to check for curfews in your area.

Social distancing means walking your dog in quiet areas and keeping at least six feet from other animals. The average leash length is six feet so there’s a safety measure built in to keep your dog safe from other people. While you are out walking, don’t let anyone touch or pet your dog.

Do I need to test my dog for coronavirus?
COVID-19 testing is not necessary for your dog. The United States Department of Agriculture states that routine testing of animals is not advised at this time. USDA will publish the results of any animals that are confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2.

Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns or notice any changes in your cat or dog’s health.

The AKC is available to assist dog owners in the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. You will find answers to your coronavirus questions, as well as at-home activities ideas, training tips, and other resources on our Coping With COVID-19 hub.

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