What do we know so far when it comes to COVID-19 and our dogs?
When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in early 2020, it brought chaos and uncertainty into our lives. Almost overnight, everything changed. So how has this coronavirus affected life with dogs? Let’s take a closer look at what we know and what we’re still learning about canines and COVID-19.
72% of people report spending more time overall with their dogs, and most believe this increased time has strengthened their bond.
Over 50% of people feel their dogs help reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation and loneliness.
42% of respondents expressed concern about the ability to afford emergency veterinary care, while 45% expressed concern around meeting future needs.
61% of respondents reported concern that their veterinarians would not be there in the case of an emergency, while 53% indicated similar concerns when asked about veterinarian availability for non-emergencies.
60% of people did report concern about their ability to care for their dogs if they become ill themselves.
Only 60% of respondents reported that they have identified someone to care for their dogs if they become ill.
*from a study conducted by Lori Kogan, PhD and four other researchers. Info was collected through a survey to dog owners via social media.
6 important facts
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO):
- Based on the information available to date, there is no evidence that dogs can transmit COVID-19 to humans.
- It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.
- Dogs should be treated as you would other human family members – do not let them interact with people outside the household or bubble.
- If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.
- Data from one study suggest some dogs can get infected but might not spread the virus to other dogs as easily compared to cats and ferrets, who can easily spread the virus to other animals of the same species
- There is no evidence that the virus can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets. Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other products, such as hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about appropriate products for bathing or cleaning your pet.
Tips to protect your dog
- Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.
- Avoid public places where a large number of people gather.
- If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals. When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
- If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a mask and wash your hands before and after you interact with them. If your dog becomes sick, call your veterinarian and confirm you have been ill with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets.
- No matter what, do not put a mask on your dog – it can harm her!
Dana Cox is the co-founder, Chief Creative Officer and editor-in-chief of Redstone Media Group, which publishes Canadian Dogs Annual, Animal Wellness Magazine, Equine Wellness Magazine and Integrative Veterinary Care Journal, and associated websites. She regularly attends veterinary conferences to stay apprised of leading edge and best practice therapies and modalities. Dana lives in Peterborough, ON with her husband and fellow co-founder, Tim Hockley, and their family which includes two children, a dog and a cat.