How to protect dogs from canine coronavirus

A man wearing a face mask walks his dog as he pulls a trolley after shopping in Beijing on February 13, 2020. - The number of deaths and new cases from China's COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak spiked dramatically on February 13 after authorities changed the way they count infections in a move that will likely fuel speculation that the severity of the outbreak has been under-reported. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Dog owners in Beijing have been strapping face masks onto their pets, but is it really necessary? (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

With no sign of the global coronavirus outbreak slowing, people have been asking if they should worry about their pets as well as their family and friends.

In cities across China sales of face masks for dogs have soared , with one owner putting eye holes in a surgical mask and strapping it to their cat. This is despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying there is no evidence of pets being able to catch the new coronavirus strain named Covid-19 and pass it onto humans. There is a type that can be caught by dogs which it cannot pass to people. It has been recorded since the 1970s and is not linked to the new outbreak.
Today it emerged a group of greyhounds have been put into isolation in Australia after an outbreak of canine coronavirus was confirmed among dogs at a property at the state of Victoria.
A man wears a face mask as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus as he feeds water to his dog on a sidewalk in Beijing on February 25, 2020. - The new coronavirus has peaked in China but could still grow into a pandemic, the World Health Organization warned, as infections mushroom in other countries. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)
Canine coronavirus can pass through infected bowls (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)
epa08258561 Pets owners walk their dogs in Hong Kong, China, 29 February 2020. On 28 February Hong Kong???s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that a pet dog belonging to a person infected with the coronavirus has tested 'weak positive' for Covid-19 and that it was put in quarantine. EPA/JEROME FAVRE
The virus passed between dogs is completely different to the strain rapidly spreading between humans (Picture: EPA)

Although it is not fatal it can cause gastroenteritis-type symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea in animals who pick it up. A second type of respiratory canine coronavirus was recorded in the UK in 2003.

A Pomeranian from Hong Kong has tested ‘weakly positive’ for Covid-19 and has been put on a 14 day quarantine, but this could mean the dog was passively carrying infected particles on its body, rather than having the virus.

Alternate Their Toys to Keep Their Interest. Just like us dogs get bored with new stuff after awhile, and this includes their toys. Keep their interest by alternating their access to them. Once your dog hasn’t seen their blue ball in a month they’ll have a brand new appreciation for it the next time it makes an appearance.

Even if it has nothing to do with the current human outbreak, which has infected nearly 90,000 people and has killed more than 3,000, media attention has still made anxious pet owners fretting over how to care for their dogs.

Vaccinations are available in some countries but a cheaper and much more simple step people can take is regularly washing their hands before and after petting their animals.

It would be very easy to make contact with an infected dog or something it has touched in public, before bringing infected particles home to your furry friend.

epa08234160 A woman wearing a face mask holds her dog, also wearing a face mask, in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, 21 February 2020. The disease COVIDF-19, caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has so far killed 2,247 people with over 76,200 infected worldwide. EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI
Despite this sales in protective dog masks are skyrocketing (Picture: EPA)
A dog wearing face mask is seen on a street as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Shanghai, China March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song
The best advice for dog owners is to wash their hands regularly, particularly when petting (Picture: Reuters)

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, canine coronavirus is mostly transmitted through orally through fecal matter, directly through infected dogs or through contaminated food bowls.

Just as humans have been urged to self-isolate if they suspect they have Covid-19, it is also advisable to keep your dogs inside if they show any symptoms or have been diagnosed.

PetMD.com recommends keeping kennels clean and hygienic at all times, to clean your dog regularly and to stop your dog coming into contact with feces, as much as possible.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Spiked collars were originally fashioned in ancient Greece to protect dogs’ throats from wolf attacks.

Despite a lack of evidence that dogs can catch Covid-19, Public Health England still recommends keeping away from pets when self-isolating and to wash hands in between any contact. The WSAVA global veterinary community has also recommended wearing a face mask while caring for a pet belonging to a diagnoses patient, just to be on the safe side. Erring on the side of caution, a statement on the group’s website says: ‘Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, until we know more, pet owners should avoid contact with animals they are unfamiliar with and always wash their hands before and after they interact with animals.
Yvonne Chow dog coronavirus positive
Yvonne Chow’s Pomeranian gave a weak positive test result and is now spending time in quarantine
epa08214721 A woman wears a mask as she walks her dog in Guangzhou, China, 13 February 2020. On 12 February Hubei province recorded the largest single-day spike in coronavirus-related deaths, with 242 victims and 14,840 people diagnosed with Covid-19. The disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 has been officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). The outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has so far killed at least 1,369 people with over 60,000 infected worldwide, mostly in China. EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI
A woman wears a mask as she walks her dog in Guangzhou, China (Picture: EPA)
‘If owners are sick with COVID-19,they should avoid contact with animals in thei rhousehold, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.

‘If they need to care for their pet or be around animals while they are sick, they should wash their hands before and after they interact with them and wear a facemask. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.’

Be Diligent about Vet Visits. “Don’t wait for the signs,” Dr. Becker stresses. Focus on “prevention first.” Pets age fast, and when it comes to illness they are programmed to mask weakness, “they’re naturally secretive.” One to two visits a year is ideal, but if you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate, and don’t self-diagnose. “In the last two years I’ve seen four or five cases where people went to the internet for help, and by the time they get to the vet it’s too late,” says Dr. Becker.

Leading scientists in Britain said it was ‘irresponsible’ to make the news of the Hong Kong Pomeranian’s infection public because it is likely the test may have picked up traces of the virus from the animal’s fur – rather than it’s bloodstream. Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘There is no evidence that the human novel coronavirus can infect dogs and it would be incredible for a virus to make so many species jumps in such a short space of time.

‘We have to differentiate between real infection and just detecting the presence of a virus – these are very different.’

But there have been a number of plausible theories suggesting Covid-19 originated from bats, potentially in a laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Others have pointed to a seafood market in the city and have suggested illegal trafficking of illegal pangolins could have spurred the outbreak.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] .

For more stories like this, check our news page.