Ask the Expert: Pets and COVID-19

Ask the Expert: Pets and COVID-19

~3 min read

At Green Gruff we're lucky that we have a top expert, Dr. Jeff Powers, DVM, as our Chief Veterinary Officer. Dr. Powers has been the Chairman of the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) Council on Biologics and Therapeutics as well as being Chair of the Working Group on Cannabis. He has been a practicing vet for 40 years and runs two veterinary clinics in Northern Michigan (Veterinary Clinics North). We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Powers about the current coronavirus crisis and how we should respond. Keep reading to learn more about how you should keep yourself and your pet safe.

First off, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions as I'm sure there are many concerned pet owners looking for more information. To start, is it possible for my dog to get COVID or the coronavirus?

Happy to help. To answer your question, the short answer is that it is possible for your dog to carry coronavirus but they have not shown any symptoms. The longer answer is that there is no documented research that pets can contract COVID-19. If you are not ill you should have no concerns about interacting with your pet, however, if you contract the coronavirus, it is best to limit interaction time with your pet until more is known.

If my pet is a carrier, can I get the coronavirus from my pet?

Again, it's a bit of a complicated picture because we don't have enough research. But, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) there is no evidence that humans can get infected from their dogs.

So, my dog may carry it but will likely not get me sick. Is there a test for my pet if I think they may be a carrier?

There are some tests that could potentially be used to detect if your pet is a carrier. But, at this time, there are no specific tests for pets. Tests may rapidly become available if it is determined that pets could be contagious.

Are your and others' veterinary services still available?

Veterinary services are considered essential and will continue to be available. The AVMA and other key stakeholders are urging vets to continue to provide care as it is critical in protecting the health of animals either pets or livestock.

Should I get rid of old toys in case those surfaces collect COVID-19?

If there is the chance that anyone that was infected with the coronavirus could have come into contact with your pets' toys it would be wise to replace them.

Should I still take my pet outside for walks or allow them to interact with other pets?

Yes, you should still be getting your pet outside for exercise. The virus is not very stable in the environment, however, you should limit the contact of your pet with various loose items. Avoid plastics or cardboard as the coronavirus can persist on these surfaces for varying times.

I have to work from home, how can I limit the distraction of my pet?

Having plenty of toys, taking your pet for walks, and/or natural calming solutions, such as Green Gruff's Relax chews, may help to maintain your pets' calmness or demeanor.

If I get sick, should I get my pet housed by someone else?

The WHO has recommended limiting contact with your pet as they could become a carrier if you are sick. You may or may not want to have someone take care of them based on your circumstances.

Are there any other tips you can think of for anyone dealing with this crisis?

Pets are an essential part of our lives, loyal and givers of unconditional love that are a valued part of our families.  It is more important than ever to take care of each person and loving pet that we have.  Keep them well-fed with high-quality nutrition through pet food, supplements and water, exercise and grooming care. And continue to keep updated on developing information.  

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