Coronavirus COVID-19 and Your Pets – What You Should Know
Most countries in the world have implemented quarantine and have asked the public to maintain minimal contact. Even In the state of Utah, on 3/27/2020 Governor Herbert issued a directive (not an order) asking everyone to stay home as much as possible for the next two weeks. This has significantly reduced the number of social gatherings and movement. The COVID-19 disease has spread rapidly across the globe to more than 200 territories. With the death count increasing daily, everyone is keen on maintaining hygiene and following the regulations.
While the US government, alongside other nations around the world, implements social distancing, many Americans have been isolated from their friends and loved ones. Pet owners have taken comfort in the companionship of their best friends during this lonely time. Several people, on the other hand, have become skeptical about the possibility of the novel coronavirus infecting their pets.
About COVID-19 Coronavirus
SARS-CoV-19, the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and the latest human epidemic, is known to have originated from animals. Experts say that it first originated from bats, and through other intermediaries, it somehow reached to humans. Bats are known to have a unique physiology that can harbor many viruses which live and reproduce without causing harm to the host.
With regard to pets and other animals, there have been reports of many viruses mutating to wild animals. Scientists believe that similar Coronavirus, Nipah and Ebola viruses came from bats, hopped to other animals and eventually reached humans. We look at how the virus affects your pets, what to do during quarantine, and the hygiene measures you should take.
How Coronavirus Affects Pets
There have been a few reports recently of Coronavirus being detected in dogs. Reports from Hong Kong have confirmed two cases of dogs testing ‘weakly positive.’ Since the news broke, pet owners have been in a panic as pet-sized face masks are running out in retail stores. Though there might be evidence that confirms a pet might carry SARS-CoV-19, it is only detected in extremely low levels. Experts are still questioning its relevance to the fast-spreading COVID-19 between humans.
UK medical professionals have recently been addressing reports of the Pomeranian dog in China that tested positive for Coronavirus. The dog is said to have been tested several times. Generally, viruses affect a specific species meaning that the COVID-19 epidemic affects humans only. The big question is whether the Hong Kong dog carried the virus prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and for how long it has carried the virus. Others wonder if it was unlucky to ingest or inhale the virus from the owners it was living with. Chinese medical experts say the dogs don’t show any signs of illness.
The UK experts say that this should not lead the public to panic. A Professor of virology at the University of Nottingham, Prof Jonathan Ball said that there is a difference between the real infection of the dog and a mild presence of the virus. Prof Ball says that there is no need to panic because the low levels make it impossible for the virus to spread to another dog or human.
How COVID-19 Does NOT Affect Your Pets
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, many institutions have claimed that there is no evidence of Coronavirus infecting dogs and other pets. Though recent reports in China might contradict these claims, the Coronavirus cannot make a pet ill. Additionally, there is no evidence of pets being a medium of spreading the novel virus though many experts are still conducting more research.
The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that there is no evidence that your pet can pass the virus. It is a relief to pet owners all over the world now that every nation is implementing social distancing. Like the previous viruses of the Coronavirus family- SARS and MERS, COVID-19 spreads through droplets of sneeze, cough, or any other discharge from the nose and mouth. Since pets generate droplets easily, there are barriers between humans and pets that prevent the spread of a virus.
Professor Ball says that pet owners should continue washing hands regularly even after touching pets. Some carry bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli that can pass to humans. During the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak of 2003, there were a number of cases of cats and dogs testing positive. However, the respiratory virus did not spread to humans or to other animals of the same species. There is still limited evidence that SARS-CoV-19 can make a pet sick or spread from pet to a human.
“There is no evidence that the human novel coronavirus can infect dogs and it would be incredible for a virus to make so many species jumps in such a short space of time!
We have to differentiate between real infection and just detecting the presence of a virus – these are very different – and the fact that the test result was weakly positive would suggest that this is environmental contamination or simply the presence of coronavirus shed from the human contact that has ended up in the dog’s samples.
In truth this is incredibly irresponsible because the last thing we need to do is create mass hysteria about the possibility of dogs being infected, and therefore potentially transmitting this virus when there is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever.” – Professor Jonathan Ball
What To Do With Pets If You’re Quarantined
Feeling cut off from external contact and socializing has become frustrating both for humans and pets. Though social distancing is a significant way of reducing the spread of COVID-19, many people are already feeling nostalgic about the freedom of meeting your friends at a café or bar. The refuge these days seems to be a little jog outside and spending most of the time on the couch. For pet owners, social distancing should not have an adverse effect on your pet, but it is worth budgeting for what is required during this time. You should ensure that you have stocked up plenty of water and pet food. Additionally, you should ensure that you have enough medical supplies in case your pet gets ill.
The CDC recommends that all pet parents should be vigilant in protecting their pets and themselves. All hygiene regulations set by health organizations should be implemented during quarantine. Pets should be cleaned regularly and kept away from outside contact. If you have to walk your dog, you should keep your distance and stay away from crowded dog parks. If you are sick or taking care of an infected person, contact with pets should be limited.
Amid the epidemic, many Americans are embracing pet fostering and adoption to take care of them. Many shelters across the country have reduced their employees as others close to the public. This has resulted in the need for more volunteers to become foster pet parents. Pets can provide much needed emotional support during quarantine. It is also an excellent time to strengthen bonds between you and your pet by playing games and trying new tricks.
COVID-19 Hygiene As It Relates To Pets
Hygiene is a significant factor in the fight against COVID-19. Since the virus spreads through droplets in the air and on surfaces, washing hands and sanitizing surfaces around the house is very important. More than 60% concentration of alcohol is required in sanitizers to kill most viruses. Since the outbreak, the sale of hand sanitizers has skyrocketed with most retail shops and superstores limiting the number of buyers.
The need to keep your home clean is crucial for both the pet owner and the pet. Washing your pet and all surfaces around the house is essential during quarantine. When going out, everyone should adhere to the COVID-19 regulations set by the government and keep distance between the pets and external contact.
The CDC has asked all patients that have tested positive for the novel virus to stay away from pets and other animals as they would around humans. This is despite the probability of the pets getting sick being minimal. Experts say that trying to limit contact between the sick and animals is important. This includes petting, kissing, snuggling, being licked, or sharing food.
The CDC says that good hygiene practices must be maintained during this period until a solution is found. There are infected people who have been allowed to take care of their pets under the condition that they will wear masks and wash their hands before interacting with the pets.
Precautions We Are Taking With Pet Sitting and Dog Walking in Ogden, Utah
At Away Home & Pet Care we understand the concern our clients have regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus. We take safety seriously at Away Home & Pet Care and are working diligently to protect our dog walking and pet sitting clients and team members in Ogden, Utah. The measures we are taking include:
- Washing our hands at the start and completion of each pet sitting or dog walking visit, which is standard practice anyway.
- Using hand sanitizer after washing our hands.
- Using disinfectant wipes to wipe down door handles and other surfaces we touch.
- No-contact dog walking visits. If you are working from home when we arrive, we are asking our clients to have harnesses already placed on their dogs before we arrive. You’ll meet us at the door so we don’t have to enter your home.
- Using our own leashes which are disinfected throughout the day and washed each evening.
- Retrieving dogs from a garage or a yard if you’re working from home.
- Using disposable gloves inside your home.