Can coronavirus affect dogs?

Coronavirus has caused a great deal of devastation in China and continues to spread throughout the rest of the world. As the government plans its strategy for dealing with the virus, we ask… are our dogs at risk? 

Here is what we know so far, courtesy of David Tweedle, My Family Vets Vet and Clinical Director at Natures Vet in Somerset…

Dr David Tweedle - BVetMed MRCVS

Is my dog in danger of catching COVID-19?  

So far, there’s very little evidence to suggest that dogs can catch the disease. There’s also no evidence to suggest that dogs can transfer COVID-19 between humans. 

However, this is new virus and a rare situation - it’s changing very quickly, so it’s very difficult for anyone to be 100% sure. 

If I have flu or flu-like symptoms, do I need to keep away from my pet?

Not altogether, but in the interest of safety and hygiene you may want to keep physical contact to a minimum. COVID-19 is not yet known to affect dogs, but other similar viruses are zoonotic, meaning they can spread between animals and humans. 

It’s best to be on the safe side and to be as hygienic as possible. Make sure you wash your dog’s paws with warm, soapy water after a walk, keep their bedding clean, wash your hands regularly and perhaps most importantly, don’t let your dog lick your face!

If I think my dog has been exposed to the virus… 

If your dog seems unwell and you think they’ve come into contact with the virus, give your vet a call and make them aware of the situation. In other words, behave as normal but if you think coronavirus has something to do with your dog’s symptoms, be sure to mention it. 

Symptoms of illness in dogs can range from tiredness or a change in behaviour to diarrhoea, vomiting and seizures. Symptoms differ depending on the illness your dog is suffering from.

The coronavirus outbreak is commonly (and rightly) referred to in the news as ‘uncharted territory’. The situation is changing very quickly, so it’s important to stay vigilant. Stay on the lookout for advice from a trusted source, and contact a medical professional right away if you have any concerns.

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