March 12, 2020
Photo by Michelle Tresemer on Unsplash
As a dog groomer I come in contact with dogs everyday. I have been approached by pet parents both in person and through social media with the following, "I feel silly for asking this particular question, but can my dog get Coronavirus? Should I be concerned?
First of all, There is no reason to feel silly. No question is a "stupid" question especially when it comes to the health and safety of ALL of your loved ones and yourself. This question shows that you are concerned (as we all are), and that you are responsible and smart for wanting to be informed to take the right precautions to remain safe. With that said, the answer to, "Can my dog get Coronavirus?" is NO.
Dogs can contract certain strands of coronaviruses like the canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCOV), however, this specific COVID-19 strand that we are dealing with today is not the same strand and it is NOT a threat to dogs.
I have put together a few pet tips for you dog parent to implement in order to keep yourself, your family, and home germ free. Even though dogs cannot contract the coronavirus (COVID-19), they can still spread germs on to you. by touch.
1. AVOID CROWDED PET EVENTS/DOG PARKS
We've all been watching large events like concerts and festivals being cancelled/postponed, universities closing campuses and teaching online, airlines cancelling travel in the attempt to control the spreading of this virus. COVID-19 spreads through human contact and when you take your pet around people what happens? People can't hold themselves back from your pup's cuteness, they come over, touch your pup to pet it, and even kiss your puppy on the top of their head (my favorite spot to kiss too).
After the fun is over you forget all about it, you get home and puppy walks inside rubs all over the house, plays with the kids, and you love that pup so much that you hug, lay with them, and kiss them too running the risk of catching and spreading those germs. I know it's hard not to take your pup out to fun events, but this is only temporary and a precaution to stop the virus from spreading. For now opt to take your pup on long walks with you around your neighborhood or parks that you know won't be too crowded.
Photo by CDC on Unsplash
2. WIPE THOSE PAWS
The same way we track germs with our shoes, dogs track germs with their paws. We don't ever think about this, we let doggie in and out of the house, we take them out for walks, hop in and out of cars and then onto our furniture- bed, couch, pillows. Not only do they track in germs that can make us sick, but they track in pollen and allergens that make them sick as well. A lot of dog skin issues root from allergens- pup goes outside, allergens like pollen stick to their paws, then they scratch an itch with their paws and spread the allergens onto their skin, which causes irritation. Maybe this is something you don't want to do forever, however, while this coronavirus is lurking it's a good idea to wipe your dogs' paws clean before you let it in the house again. You can use unscented baby wipes or even a clean wet cloth or small towel. Think of how you've been rough housing with your dog and a cute paw lands on your face...or how many people like to hold doggie paws to say hi. I bet I convinced you now. Keep those paws clean.
Photo by Fabian Gieske on Unsplash
3. WASH YOUR PAWS
I can't stress this one enough. WASH YOUR HANDS. I'm not saying to become a crazy person and wash your hands 30 times a day, but if you're out and about wash your hands when ever you get the chance to. We open and close doors, touch objects, hold our pet's leashes- we drop them, pick them back up, we ask others to hold the leash, we touch our pets, other people's pets, we shake hands, we take and hold cups, plates prepared by other people, we hold the water fountain by the Pinellas Trail in Downtown Dunedin so that our thirsty pups can get a sip of water, and we touch our faces, SO MANY TIMES IN ONE DAY UNCONSCIOUSLY . So! Wash those hands plenty and watch how you will automatically be at more ease about this entire thing.
Photo by Curology on Unsplash
Remember that it is us (people) that are at higher risks of spreading the virus, so washing your hands after you come in contact with other people and other pets is essential in stopping the spread of germs. These tips also apply to house cats that are allowed to leave and come back home.
Don't panic, remember that as long as you stay informed, stay out of crowded spaces, and most importantly practice proper and preventative hygiene practices, you are keeping yourself at a lower risk of getting sick.