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Coronavirus: advice for dog owners

March 7, 2020

We understand that you may have questions about coronavirus (covid-19), such as whether your dog is at risk of infection and how to care for them if you need to self-isolate. Here’s the latest advice for dog owners from public health and veterinary officials. 

Can dogs catch and spread coronavirus? 

There is no evidence at present that animals can be infected with or spread coronavirus. You may have read news reports about a Pomerianian in Hong Kong that was tested and found to have low levels of coronavirus. Health officials believe this was due to the owner, who had coronavirus, handling the dog, or the dog coming into contact with a contaminated surface. The dog has not shown any clinical signs of becoming ill from the virus. Whilst the situation continues to be monitored, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that there is no evidence that coronavirus can be passed between pets and their owners. 

What should I do if myself or another member of the household gets coronavirus?

The current advice is that there is no evidence that pets can be infected or spread coronavirus. However, the WHO advises that pet owners should always wash their hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This helps to protect against the spread of bacteria, such as e-coli or salmonella, which can be passed between pets and humans. 

In addition, until more information is known about the virus, the following advice is being given to pet owners diagnosed with coronavirus

  • If possible, arrange for someone else in the household to care for your pet while you are unwell.
  • Restrict contact with pets, e.g. petting, cuddling, kissing or sharing food.
  • If your pet requires care, wash your hands before and after handling them; and wear a face mask if possible.

If you are concerned about your pet’s health, telephone your vet for advice. 

How do I look after my dog if I need to self-isolate? 

People are being asked to self-isolate for seven days if they develop any of the symptoms of coronavirus and for 14 days if another member of the house develops symptoms. If this applies to you, you may be worried about how you will care for your dog. 

Consider making alternative arrangements for someone else to look after and exercise your dog. This could be a friend, a neighbour or another family member who doesn’t live with you. However, if this is not possible, here’s 5 ways to entertain your dog at home

Read the UK government’s guide for households with possible coronavirus infection.

Can I still travel abroad with my dog? 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued advice to people about travelling overseas. Before you travel, make sure you are aware of any travel advice, including any requirements for travelling abroad with your dog.

Main image photocredit: istock