The Wuhan Coronavirus: Is Your Pet Dog or Cat at Risk?
The New Wuhan Coronavirus, also known as 2019 nCOV or, more formally as COVID-19, is a declared WHO Global Health Emergency that has taken humans all around the world by storm (UPDATE: The WHO classified it as a Pandemic on March 11, 2020). It is obvious to worry about our companion animals in the event of this outbreak and dogs wearing masks have started making appearances. Are the masks really necessary though? Can your pet even get Coronavirus or spread it at all?
Here’s everything you must know about COVID-19 to ensure safety for you & your pets.
What are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses emerging from animals. Some of them are zoonotic in nature, meaning that they can transmit to humans. They cause a range of upper-respiratory-tract illnesses – some as common as flu, while some others are as severe as pneumonia. These viruses are contagious and spread among persons on direct contact. However, they are usually not easily communicable across species.
“Such viruses often originate in bats, but may travel through other species towards infecting humans.”
– Peter Daszak, disease ecologist and president of EcoHealth Alliance
The Wuhan Coronavirus or COVID-19
COVID-19 was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei province. It is believed to have originated in Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market. Since then it has spread across China and all around the world through travelers. Until the last update to this article (March 16, 2020), there were 170,248 reported cases of COVID-19 infection. Even though experts believe that this virus has a low mortality rate of about 3.83%, the outbreak has led to 6,526 deaths so far, while 77,788 people have successfully recovered.
You can track updates in numbers of the COVID-19 outbreak here.
Coronavirus and Pets
Coronaviruses originate in animals. It’s natural that they affect animals as well. Companion animals like dogs and cats are affected by some types of coronaviruses too, like the canine respiratory coronavirus.
Does this mean your pet is at risk?
Can your Dog or Cat get Coronavirus?
A lone case of a pet pomeranian tested “weak positive” in Hong Kong. The dog had no symptoms of COVID-19.
Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) & WHO, both still agree that dogs and cats cannot be infected with COVID-19. However, AFCD advises that pets of persons infected with COVID-19 be quarantined for 14 days for safety.
“At present, there is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as dogs and cats can be infected with the new coronavirus”
– WHO: Coronavirus Disease 2019
Can Dogs and Cats spread Coronavirus?
While dogs and cats can be carriers of some coronaviruses, the COVID-19 does not spread across species according to the current information. Which means your dog or cat cannot infect you directly. As per the Centers for Disease Control, the virus seems to have emerged from an animal source but is now spreading from person to person.
However, know that this is only based on information available at the moment, and could change if new discoveries are made. This does not mean pet parents need to be in a state of panic or guilt. Just keep yourself updated with the latest news about COVID-19.
So does your pet really need to wear a mask?
Staying safe from Coronavirus
Face mask sellers have already seen a spike in sales since the news of Coronavirus started circulating. Strange home remedies are making the rounds on WhatsApp groups. But honestly, you don’t need to be doing anything odd or special to keep safe. Like we mentioned above, dogs and cats are neither carriers nor are affected by COVID-19 (The Wuhan Coronavirus). You only need to diligently incorporate basic hygiene steps in your daily routine without fail, especially those mentioned below.
- Wash hands frequently
Use soap and water to wash your hands frequently, especially after you’ve offered some belly rubs to your pet or stray dogs. Do the same before you use your hands to consume food. Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently will eliminate the virus if it’s on your hands.
- Cover mouth and nose while coughing & sneezing
Symptoms of COVID-19 include a cold, cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Protect others around you, and your pets from contracting anything off you by practicing basic respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, cloth or at least your own hands when coughing or sneezing. Try staying indoors until you recover, if you can.
- Do not touch eyes, nose, and mouth often
We touch a lot of things and surfaces throughout the day. Touching your eyes, nose and mouth often can transfer any virus you may have on your hands. Do not let your pet lick you before you wash properly.
- Avoid raw or undercooked meats and poultry in the diet
Avoid consuming meat or eggs from eateries, cook them yourself. Only eat meat, poultry, or fish that is completely cooked and not undercooked or raw.
So should I stop feeding my pet meat to avoid Coronavirus?
There is no evidence yet that confirms the spread of the coronavirus through the consumption of meat, poultry or fish. However, take basic precautions to avoid risk to yourself or your loved ones. Get your meats from a traceable and trustworthy source; especially if you feed your pet a raw diet. If you cook at home, ensure that the meats and eggs are properly cooked. Avoid packaged or processed foods or treats in your pet’s diet.
Choose a service provider like DawgieBowl for your pet’s food. We use only locally-sourced, fresh ingredients that are quality checked to meet human-grade standards. The meals are vacuum-dried to ensure protection from any possible infection, while still retaining the nutritional value of all ingredients. Of course, no by-products, gluten, corn or soy-based fillers, preservatives, colors or flavors ever make their way into our meals. DawgieBowl is safe for your pet and your family, in all aspects.
Do not deprive your pet of their staple source of protein, for reasons that have no scientific backing yet. A pet that feeds on a wholesome, balanced diet has a stronger immunity against diseases, than one whose diet lacks essential nutrition.
Bonus Tip: Misinformation is Hazardous
Know the latest developments regarding COVID-19 by keeping track of the news. The virus is a global health emergency and should not be taken lightly. While you do so, ensure your news/ information comes from reliable sources (links to a few provided below). Believe only articles, blogs that have the information traced back to a trustworthy source. Do not let word of mouth, forwarded messages or articles written from the purpose of creating panic get to you.
There are no vaccines for humans or animals against the Wuhan Coronavirus yet. The WHO estimates about 18 months until a vaccine is available. Meanwhile, protect yourself and your family (human and furry) by observing basic hygiene. Speak with a doctor if you observe any symptoms in yourself. Feel free to reach out to your veterinarian if your pet has been ill too.
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
DawgieBowl operates this online information and opinion blog for educational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this blog are researched from popular journals & books, online articles, and research papers. DawgieBowl does not claim ownership to the images or videos on the blog unless mentioned. Images or videos are collected from the public domain, and the rights to them lie with the photographer or copyright owner. By reading this blog or using any of the information you expressly acknowledge and understand that there are risks and limitations associated with any advice, recipes, formulas, and/or products suggested or endorsed. DawgieBowl, its parent entities, and stakeholders are not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this website, or any other site or product linked to this website, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our website or any other linked site, from downtime on the website or from any other use of this blog.
The content of this blog is NOT intended to substitute professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If your pet is sick, injured, or in need of medical attention, please contact your veterinarian or local emergency animal hospital immediately. Never disregard professional veterinary advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website
Don't miss an update!
Subscribe to delicious news, canine nutrition and lifestyle tips and new blogs.