Last week, the World Health Organization declared that the 2019 novel coronavirus is now a global health emergency. In the panic that followed, people became worried not only about their own health but the health of their pets as well.
Dogs wearing face masks have popped up in photos across social media, causing pet owners everywhere to ask: can dogs get coronavirus?
Can dogs contract or spread coronavirus?
Dogs can contract certain types of coronaviruses, such as the canine respiratory coronavirus, but this specific coronavirus is believed not to be a threat to pets.
The World Health Organization reported that there have been no reported cases of coronavirus in domestic animals. “At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus,” their report says.
Despite this, Li Lanjuan, an epidemiologist and representative of China’s National Health Commission cautioned pet owners in China to be vigilant about their own health and the health of their pets: “If pets go out and have contact with an infected person, they have the chance to get infected. By then, pets need to be isolated. In addition to people, we should be careful with other mammals especially pets.”
The CDC says that “while this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person.” The CDC recommends that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead, “but there is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus.”
How can dog owners protect pets from coronavirus?
For now, pet owners in the U.S. don’t need to do anything other than follow normal health precautions such as washing their hands with soap and water after contact with any animal.
Dogs do not need a face mask to protect themselves against the new coronavirus. If you are still concerned or notice a change in your dog, speak to a veterinarian.