The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a global pandemic in early March 2020, and since then, many people are worried about their health and those of their animals, such as cats and dogs.
For decades, dogs are known to contract canine respiratory coronavirus, which is different from Covid 19, but there is no evidence that they can spread the virus to humans. Therefore there is no reason for taking serious measures that compromise the welfare of companion or other animals.
The article will review how coronavirus affects your domestic animals. It will also delve deeper into how coronavirus can affect your pet since we have seen there is no report showing that the virus can affect domestic animals.
Covid-19 and Domestic Animals
Coronavirus is a broad spectrum of viruses ranging from the severest, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) to the mildest, common cold. Dogs, cats, cattle, and pig have their own variety, but it’s not transmitted to humans.
Although the SARS-CoV-2 responsible for Covid-19 might infect certain animals living under some conditions, such as in laboratory settings, there has been no evidence that a naturally infected animal can transmit the virus back to humans.
So there is no evidence that farm animals such as horses, camels, cattle, swine, or any other livestock species are at risk of getting infected with Covid-19 by humans. The available evidence is that there are many coronaviruses like transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), infectious bronchitis virus of poultry, porcine respiratory, and bovine coronavirus. Still, these contagious diseases are quite host-restricted, found within a group of animals, and never transmitted from one species to another.
Still, the livestock coronavirus disease is considered a very low risk for people; however, it’s possible to transmit infectious diseases like zoonotic diseases, including brucellosis, salmonellosis, rabies, ringworm, Q fever, and cryptosporidiosis. So wash your hands after each contact with domestic animals and emphasize routine biosecurity.
The risk of spreading the virus from humans to animals is lower and between animals is even much lower. In the event of SARS-CoV-2 that causes respiratory disease signs, the transmission between cats can only take place when there is prolonged close contact. Further, you can discuss with a veterinarian in case your domestic animal has respiratory illness after exposure to a person with Covid-19.
Therefore, people should continue adopting or fostering pets during the pandemic instead of harming or abandoning them. Feline companionship from cats and dogs can be a great source of comfort and can help people decrease anxiety, depression, and stress.
Further health experts recommend that individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 should isolate themselves from those in their household, including human beings and pets.
Pet owners should wash their hands before and after handling pets and should keep them indoors to minimize contact with other people and animals outside their own household.
What is the Coronavirus Risk Infection in Pets?
While there are indications that dogs and cats can have SARS-CoV-2, confirmed cases are fewer because some of them are more resistant than others. Actually, dogs are more resistant compared to cats.
Even though animal infections are incredibly lower, treating your pets like any other member of your family can reduce risks. Therefore keep your pets at home and away from other animals and people outside your household. Further, avoid any close contact with sick members of your family.
As mentioned above, you can talk to a veterinarian when your pet develops any respiratory illness. Keep in mind that the national association of State Public health Veterinarians (NASPHV) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) don’t recommend testing healthy animals for novel coronavirus because SARS-CoV-2 infections are rare in animals, and if it happens, the symptoms are mild and can resolve without incident.
Can Quarantining Your Pets Affect them?
Governments across the world introduced Covid-19 measures such as social distancing and isolation to slow the spread of coronavirus. Many people became stressed by these measures. Speeding some time with you is a wonderful gift, and they look forward to the extra petting, playtime, naps, and snuggles.
So both you and your pet benefits from the time you spend together. For instance, it may lower your stress, and the animal enjoys their staycation with you. More so, coronavirus survives more on a smooth surface such as doorknobs and countertops as opposed to pet fur, which absorbs and traps the pathogens.
Limiting this contact can be stressful to the dog or cat; however, you can adopt or foster another pet to give the current one company. Also, you can give your pet a quiet area to take a break during the isolation period or when the household becomes busy.
Come up with a predictable schedule for playtime, walks, and meals in order to reduce your family and pet’s stress.
Is it Advisable to Walk Your Dog Outside?
As mentioned above, the risk of transmitting Covid-19 between humans and pets is lower and extremely lower among pets. However, it’s wise to take measures to safeguard your pet.
Also, walking your pet is a great exercise that improves your health and mental wellbeing. So it will be safe when you maintain the following social distancing measures when outside with your pet during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Stay at home if you’re sick or allow another family member to walk the pet.
- Avoid being licked or kissed as well as sharing bedding or food with your pet when a family member tests positive.
- Avoid busy or crowded locations as well as dog parks.
- Walk with your pet when there are fewer people on the streets.
- Maintain an appropriate distance between yourself and other people.
- Wipe your pet’s feet and fur with grooming wipes when they come into the house.
There are fewer cases of animal infections with Covid-19, and for that reason, owners should not abandon any animal or pets because of coronavirus fears.
Instead, take measures such as not letting your pets interact with animals and people outside your household. You can also avoid crowded places or dog parks when walking your dog.