Our pets are part of our family and during this uncertain time it is important for us to understand the facts about animals and COVID-19.  According to The Center for Disease Control coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold, in people.  COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus that is transmitted mostly from person to person through droplets from coughing, sneezing, and breathing. Although the COVID-19 was started by an animal, there is no evidence at this time that companion animals can spread COVID-19 to people.

Should we be worried that we could get our household pets sick? At this time there are no documented cases that a pet can get sick that way. If you are sick with COVID-19 take precautions. Try not to interact with your pet. If you must interact with him, wear a face mask and wash hands before and after you do. You should also avoid snuggling, being licked and kissed, and sharing food.

The coronavirus that dogs get affects their gastric system and causes upset stomachs. It is not the same thing as COVID-19 which is not believed to be a health threat to dogs. People need to keep in mind that pets can remain as members of the family.

Daily exercise is extremely important both for dogs and dog owners, but use basic common sense when going out with your dogs. It is not known for certain how long the virus can live on surfaces, therefore we have no data on how long the virus can live on pet fur. Do not let anyone pet your dog or go near his nose or mouth. It’s a good idea to clean your dogs paws when coming in from a walk, but don’t use anything harsh to clean them. It also might be a good idea to give them a bath or quickly rinse them off. By being smart, taking necessary precautions, keeping your living space clean, and promoting good hygiene you can keep you and your pets safe and healthy.

As of March 15th, when requested by a veterinarian, The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine can test for COVID-19 in animals. Dogs should not be surrendered to shelters because of fear of the COVID-19. Everyone is in this together and that includes our furry friends!