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Dogs and the Coronavirus: Can my Dog Contract COVID-19?

Pomeranian Dog

Every day confirmed coronavirus cases grow exponentially. As of March 22nd, 2020, the John Hopkins’ Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s (CSSE) Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map notes that over 316,000 coronavirus cases exist. That’s nearly double the confirmed cases reported just the week before. This global pandemic has stretched across the globe to every continent except Antarctica and impacted the daily lives of billions of people. But what is it doing to dogs?

If you’re wondering if your dog can contract the novel coronavirus, then you can put that worry to rest. Current research does not indicate that dogs can contract coronavirus from humans. While research has yet to prove that dogs can contract coronavirus from humans, it’s always important to take precautionary measures to reduce spread. Here are some essential factors to consider for you and your dogs and COVID-19 preventative measures to take:

1. What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a variety of diseases and infections in humans and animals, such as respiratory issues, pneumonia, and diarrhea. Several types of coronaviruses can impact dogs, such as canine coronavirus, canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV), and canine enteric coronaviruses. Humans can get coronaviruses, such as the coronavirus that causes the common cold and the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.

Scientists believe COVID-19 originated from a live animal wet market in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province after receiving several confirmed cases in late 2019 linked to the market. Some scientists believe that this virus may have even originated from bats and mutated, jumping to humans. COVID-19 is highly contagious, and often people do not experience symptoms for as much as five days. This leaves plenty of time for carriers of the virus to pass it along to others unknowingly. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, dry cough, and a fever. But your symptoms can also get as severe as pneumonia and even death.

The virus can spread various ways, including via airborne droplets from coughing or sneezing. A January 2020 study by Zhang et al. also suggests that the digestive system may also be a potential path of transmission for the novel coronavirus as the study found the virus on samples of patients’ stool. However, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control (CDC)notes that while researchers have found the virus in some patients’ feces, scientists still don’t know if the virus detected in feces is infectious. Another possible way to get coronavirus is by touching contaminated surfaces. As human-to-human contact is the most common way to contract the novel virus, it’s not uncommon to wonder, “can my dog get coronavirus?”.

2. Can Dogs Get Coronavirus?

If you’re wondering “can dogs get coronavirus,” there is good news that may ease your worries. While dogs can get various types of coronaviruses, scientists have yet to determine if dogs can contract the novel coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that there is a lack of evidence to support the idea that pets can transmit COVID-19, including dogs. There are known cases of dogs who have tested positive for COVID-19, including two dogs in Hong Kong: a German Shepherd and a 17-year-old Pomeranian. Officials quarantined both dogs after they and their owners tested positive for COVID-19. However, the Pomeranian passed away after finally testing negative and returning home to the owner. The cause of death is unknown. Yet, the CDC) notes that it needs more research to determine the risks COVID-19 imposes on pets as there are no reports in the United States of animals with COVID-19. At this time, no known evidence proves dogs can contract the novel coronavirus from humans or that pets can pass it to humans.

3. Can Dogs Pass Coronavirus to Humans?

To date, research does not support COVID-19 as a zoonotic disease that passes from your pets to humans. So, you don’t have to worry about getting the novel coronavirus from your dog. However, it’s still critical to consider the risks and scenarios where you can contract the coronavirus when it comes to your pet. One crucial factor to consider is how long the virus can survive on different surfaces. A March 2020 New England Journal of Medicine study found that COVID-19 can live up to three days on surfaces, such as stainless steel and plastic. That means if you are handling your dog’s plastic leash after another person who may have had direct contact with the virus, you have the potential for also contracting COVID-19.

The New England Journal of Medicine study also goes on to note that the virus has a lifespan of up to 24 hours on cardboard surfaces and up to four hours on copper. What is not known is whether or not COVID-19 can survive on animal fur and whether or not it can survive long enough to transfer from companion pets to their owners. Still, scientists believe you are less likely to get the novel coronavirus from your pet’s fur if at all compared to getting it from another person. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)VMA, you’re less likely to get the novel coronavirus from your dog’s fur than from a countertop because pet fur is porous. Porous surfaces like pet fur can trap viruses, which makes it harder to get a virus just from touching the surface compared to a non-porous surface like a doorknob.

4. What Precautions Should Dog Owners Take?

Although it’s unlikely you can contract COVID-19 from your pet, there are still preventative measures you’ll want to take. The CDC recommends practicing good pet hygiene and regularly washing your hands post-waste-, food-, and supply- handling. The AVMA also suggests regularly washing your dog’s bowls and bedding as well as grooming your pet. Here are a few more precautions worth taking:

  • Prioritize washing your hands. Soap and water is an effective combination for reducing the transmission of COVID-19. That’s because soap molecules are strong enough to break down the fat and other proteins that encase the novel coronavirus’ genetic material. So, it’s crucial to prioritize washing your hands.
  • Wash your hands like a surgeon. To effectively wash your hands, wash them the way surgeons do: spend at least a total time of 20 seconds washing your hands with soap and water. You’ll also want to focus on keeping your nails clean by removing any dirt from under your nail bed. Also, focus on cleaning your fingertips and thumbs thoroughly. Interlock your fingers as you wash, and don’t forget to scrub the back of your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer, too. If soap is not an option, the next best way to clean your hands is by using a hand sanitizerthat contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Since alcohol typically kills most germs like E. coli and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), it’s essential to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Like soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are useful for breaking down the envelope protein that protects and helps coronaviruses to multiply and survive. However, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has less than 60 percent alcohol may only reduce the growth of viral, bacterial, and fungal germs rather than just killing them. It’s also still important to know that hand sanitizer doesn’t remove all germs, either. But it’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer on you when you walk your dog. The correct way to use hand sanitizer involves spreading the hand sanitizer all over your hands and fingers and rubbing the solution until it dries.
  • Wipe down surfaces. Use pet-safe disinfectant wipes or sprays to clean frequent touchpoints, such as your dog’s leash handle, doorknobs, and tabletops. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of disinfectants that meets the government agency’s standards for use against the novel coronavirus that you can reference.
  • Avoid touching your face. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are accessible places for any virus to enter, including the novel coronavirus. So, it’s essential to avoid touching your face when possible.
  • Boost your immune system and your dog’s, too. Research shows that individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for more severe symptoms and even death from the novel coronavirus. Some people who are at high risk of complications when sick with COVID-19 include individuals with diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. If you’re 65 and older, you are also at higher risk for severe complications, should you get sick with COVID-19. So, it’s crucial to practice fortifying your immune system with nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin D. It’s a good idea to help boost your dog’s health, too. You can opt for dog supplements, such as probiotics and digestive supplements. Exercise is also vital for your dog’s health, so ensure he’s getting an adequate amount based on his age, size, and breed.
  • Call your vet. If you have any questions about your dog’s health, reach out to your veterinarian. It’s also a good idea to keep your dog up-to-date with her shots and medications, including preventative medicines like flea and tick medication.

5. What If You’re Sick?

If you’re sick with COVID-19, you must isolate yourself from other people as no cure or vaccine exists. The first step you want to take after consulting a medical professional about your condition is to make arrangements for someone to take care of your pet as you work through recovery. While some experts believe it is safe to have your pet around during your self-isolation phase, scientists still don’t know if pets can get COVID-19 from their owners or vice versa. It is highly unlikely, yet if you want to take extra safety measures, then it’s best to practice social distancing from your dog. Consider making these measures if you become sick with COVID-19:

  • Don’t abandon your dog (get help). Don’t return your dog to a shelter or leave her. It’s possible to keep and care for your dog even if you have the disease. Reach out and get some extra help from a friend or family member. They can help bathe your pet if you think you may have petted and potentially exposed your dog to the virus. Let a neighbor or co-worker help take care of your dog, whether that means taking her for walks, refilling her food and water bowls, or teaching her a new trick.
  • Reduce contact with your dog. If family or friends aren’t an option, it’s still essential to take extra safety measures. That’s because any animal has the potential to pass germs to you that can make you sick, including your dog. Wear a face mask when available and avoid sharing your food with your dog.
  • No snuggle sessions. If you’re sick, it’s not a good idea to snuggle up with your dog in bed. You’ll also want to avoid having your dog lick your face or hands since scientists need to do more studies to determine how the novel coronavirus impacts dogs and other animals. It’s also ideal to stay as far as six feet away from your pet since viral air droplets can travel up to six feet when you sneeze.

Final Thoughts

Understanding how to protect yourself and your dog from COVID-19 calls for understanding the basics of the novel coronavirus. It’s also important to know what to do should you get sick and the various steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. By following the tips mentioned here, you can help flatten the curve of increasing cases of COVID-19 and further protect your dog in the process.

Working From Home: How To Stay Productive While Being a Pet Parent

staying productive working from home while being a pet parent

No one is happier about social distancing than your fur baby. As thousands of pet parents migrate from their office, staying productive at home can become difficult. While having a furry companion is proven to reduce stress, your pet won’t know the difference between “office” and “home”. To them, wherever you are is home.

From planning your day to encouraging independent play, we put a list of tips together to help both of you navigate this change.

Plan Your Day

The best thing you can do for your pet is to keep a consistent schedule. Just like humans, pets can learn to stick to them. Mornings are key to setting the stage for a productive day. For instance, If your puppy is pawing at the door first thing in the morning, make sure to set a fixed time for regular walks. Same goes for feeding, play, cuddle and nap time. Having intervals where your pet is busy can give you time for conference calls, answering emails, and working on those long spreadsheets.

Take Breaks For Play Time

Play time isn’t just beneficial to furry friends. It’s proven that taking breaks during the workday actually boosts creativity and productivity. Take 10 minute breaks every 2 hours where you give your kitty or pup your full attention. This is a great time to play tug, fetch, hide and seek. If your fur baby is feeling extra affectionate, stick to belly rubs or plain old couch cuddles. Remember to keep these breaks at consistent times every day.

Do The Hard Work During Nap Time

Dogs and cats sleep an average of 12 to 16 hours a day. If you catch your pup with sleepy eyes, that’s your cue to write that long email or finish up that report. Bottom line, focus on work that requires your full attention without any interruptions. You can enhance your fur baby’s sleep time by playing some soothing music in the background. Check out this playlist.

Keep Your Pet Healthy…And Entertained

Whether your pet constantly stares at you with puppy dog eyes, or demands belly rubs and attention, there are ways to keep them entertained while you answer that long list of emails. Healthy chewable treats are a great way to encourage independent play and keep your pet healthy! If you’re having a hard time finding the right chewables for your pet, here are a few we recommend:

Remember distractions are normal, so plan for the occasional cuddle or petting session. Just remember not to be hard on yourself and accept the flow of life.

Boost Your Pet’s Immunity

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a great time to put your health first and take measures to stay healthy. While pets can’t contract the disease, it’s still a good idea to boost their immunity in order to prevent any emergencies. We recommend these vitamins and immunity boosting supplements for cats and dogs:

We recommend that you use preventable measures like washing your hands, sanitizing home surfaces, washing your pet’s bed and blankets as well as bathing your pet often.

This is a time of uncertainty and we are all in this together. Our most valuable recommendation is to keep a positive attitude for you and your pet. Go for that long walk in nature, enjoy cuddles with your pet and stay optimistic.

At Allivet, we are committed to the health of your pet and understand that your pet is part of your family. As a registered pharmacy, we are fully operational, and continue to have full services with no delays. We understand that all medication and health supplements are important at this time, so we want you to know that we have an amazing team that is working diligently to ensure that there is no interruption in service to get your pet’s medications to you in a timely manner.  Learn more about how you and your pet can stay healthy during this time on the Allivet Pet Care Blog.

 

Allivet.com #1 in Pet Supply – Best Online Shops 2020

Newsweek Best Online Shops 2020

Here at Allivet, we have always been aware of our passion for taking care of our furry friends. Now, we have been recognized!

Newsweek released their list of the Best Online Shops of 2020, and Allivet.com has ranked #1 in the Pet Supply category.

Newsweek partnered with Statista, Inc., a global data-research firm, to rank various websites by combing through criteria such as site structure (e.g., “The homepage is very clear and well structured”), offerings like free shipping and VIP discounts, personalized recommendations, site security, and so on. They narrowed the list down to 1000 online shops that offer the trifecta of the best products, prices, and services. The online shops with the highest scores out of 10 were then awarded “Best Online Shops 2020.” This was broken down into 39 categories, one of which was Pet Supply, where Allivet landed the top spot.

Not to brag, but we are very certain they got it right! We realize that the product we offer at Allivet is not just any consumer good. We are focused on products that improve the overall health of one of your most prized family members: your fur baby. Over the years, Allivet has had increased focus on customer service. We don’t like to treat our company as simply a pharmacy. We very much consider ourselves an online retailer as well, and the expectation should be as such. The customer should expect (and receive!) lightning fast shipping times, attentive and thorough customer service, and 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed, or their money back.

While Newsweek has formally recognized Allivet, we have seen the recognition for years from our loyal customer base, as you can see in our online reviews. No matter how many accolades we receive, we here at Allivet will continue to strive every day to ensure that our service only gets that much better, because your fur babies deserve it!

Arthritis in Dogs

arthritis in dogs

You may have noticed that your dog has started to slow down in recent years. He may have started to sleep more, and be less interested in play and walks. While slowing down a bit is normal for older dogs, it can also be a sign of arthritis.

Although arthritis is commonly seen in seniors, it can also affect very young dogs and cause them to experience joint pain. Unfortunately, this is a chronic illness that can affect your dog’s quality of life if not diagnosed in time.

That’s why it is very important that you learn everything there is to know about arthritis in dogs. Read More

Cat Behaviors Explained

Cat Behaviors

Have you ever wondered why cats behave in a certain way? If you’re a cat owner, chances are that you’ve seen your cat do all kinds of strange, unexplained cat behaviors — like stare and blink at you from across the room, or butt her head against you, or massage his paws against your leg.

Believe it or not, your cat isn’t just being silly. Each one of these behaviors actually has a meaning, and in many cases, even reflects the way your cat feels about you and your relationship.

Here’s a look at the real reasons behind four of the most common cat behaviors. Read More

Train an Outdoor Cat to Stay Indoors

outdoor cat

If you have a cat that enjoys a good portion of its day outdoors, you might think training it to be an indoor cat is an impossible task. However, while the process may be a bit tedious at times, it can be done.

Some of the reasons you might be thinking about keeping your outdoor cat indoors for the remainder of its life include moving to a new area. A cat that is unfamiliar with the area could get lost. Another reason could be the cat’s safety. If you live in an area with other stray cats, and wild animals such as coyotes and foxes, you may wish to avoid any unfortunate incidents. Or you may simply want to make your outdoor cat an indoor cat so that it can avoid fleas and ticks. You’ve probably also read that indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats.

Regardless of the reasons, in order to train your outdoor cat to be an indoor cat, there are several steps and factors to consider. Read More