London Dog Week’s Official Vet, Dr Stephanie Wenban from Pet Wellness Expert offers advice surrounding Covid-19 and your dog as follows:
Can I pick up the virus through my dog?
There is no evidence that pets are a source of transmission to people.
However, we do know that humans are able to pass Covid-19 on to their dogs.
So far there has only been one confirmed case of a dog showing no signs of illness, testing weakly positive for Covid-19 in Hong Kong. If you do become unwell, it is a good idea to practice good hygiene - washing hands regularly, avoiding kissing the dog and self-isolating.
Have there been any tests to confirm this?
There is no evidence to support dog to human transmission, possible animal sources of Covid-19 have not been confirmed.
What are the chances that other dogs will have the virus like the dog found with traces of the virus in China?
The World Health Organisation has stated that there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.
The significance of one positive dog within an entire population is still being researched, but it is known that so far there have been no other dogs testing positive for Covid-19. At this point testing in dogs has been more limited whilst resources are largely focussed on humans, so we will know more of the exact figures in time.
What if someone in the family self isolates – how should they then respond to their own pets?
The risk of transmission between humans is from contact with droplets from an infected person - for example when they cough or sneeze. These droplets can survive in the environment, and potentially on dog bowls or fur. So, it is best not to allow the dog to mix between infected and non-infected family members.
If isolating alone with your dog, ensure that you have enough supplies such as food and any medication your dog may need. Practice good hygiene, and if you are unable to walk your dog, try adding mental stimulation such as feeding puzzles or teaching them some new tricks, additional training and exercises at home.
Do you advise your pet to be stoked by other stranger/humans?
Research suggests Covid-19 may survive in the environment for up to 9 days, so it is best to maintain social distance with your dog from anyone experiencing symptoms such as coughing. If you are concerned your dog may have come into contact with a symptomatic person then be sure to practice good hygiene such as giving them a rinse and washing your hands. However, your dogs will give those self-isolating the extra emotional support and happiness they need during these challenging times.