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COVID-19 and Dogs

With the recent outbreak of coronavirus in Washington State (and the nation, for that matter), dog lovers are wondering, “Can my pet test positive for COVID-19 and if so, are they contagious?”
CityDog Magazine
This question was raised when a dog in Hong Kong tested weakly positive for said virus. Despite this, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) both confirm that your pets are safe.
 

What is the current update about the dog in Hong Kong that tested positive?

As of today, the dog is still in quarantine as medical experts conduct more tests. The tests are being done to find out whether the complication is a self-limiting, mild infection, or a little-known severe threat.
 
In a nutshell, the Pomeranian has been found to be a fomite. A fomite refers to a carrier of a virus without being infected by it. Since the dog is not infected, it won't be able to pass the virus onto humans or other animals.

UPDATE: As of  March 17, 2020, the dog in Hong Kong died. The 17-year old Pomeranian passed away two days after it was released from the quarantine. According to Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the cause of death is unknown, since the owner didn't want to get an autopsy.

Should I be worried about the possibility of dogs being infected by Coronavirus?

There is no reason to be worried. Here is the official statement from the CDC:
 
“There is no reason to think that any animals, including pets in the United States, might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.”
 

What should I do to take care of my pet?

Medical experts advise pet owners to practice proper hygiene at all times.
 
Proper hygiene mainly includes frequent hand washing before and after touching your pet. 70% rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers can help, but nothing beats the power of a 20-second hand washing.
 
Masks for dogs are neither helpful nor necessary. They may look cute, but you don't have to hoard these supplies for Fido (or yourself).

Instead of hoarding, it's best to stock up on these dog essentials that will keep Fido healthy and safe. (We've also included a couple of toys on our list to keep your pooch busy!)
 
Above all else, keep your dog indoors as much as possible. No matter what happens, don't abandon your pet outside. According to animal rescue groups in China, more people are abandoning their animals for fear of the virus. Let’s not do that here.

You can even foster or welcome a new furry companion to the family amidst the pandemic. We've contacted our local animal shelters and here's how you can extend some help!

What if I or someone in the family has been found to test positive for COVID-19?

In case anybody gets sick with COVID-19, it's best to seek medical help immediately. Refrain from having physical contact with your dog before reaching out to the medical experts.
 
And, while we hate to say it, avoid kissing your pet for the time being—they know you still love them!

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation.

Sources:

  1. Pet dog in Hong Kong in quarantine after testing 'weak positive' for coronavirus 
  2. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
  3. Hong Kong Dog Dies After Release From Coronavirus Quarantine
     
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