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Can my dog get COVID-19?

Coronavirus is the word on everyone’s lips during 2020. The virus has most people understandably concerned about the health of their family, both human and furry. With so little knowledge about such a novel virus and mixed messages in the media, many are wondering if their pets are at the same risk as us.

1. Should I be concerned about my dog getting COVID-19?

The short answer is no. Dogs can contract a version of the coronavirus, but it is a canine specific disease that we have known about for a long time. Your dog is usually vaccinated for the canine coronavirus at their yearly vet checkup, making them immune to the disease. COVID-19 seems to be a human-specific strain of the disease, which mutated from a small mammal called a Pangolin.

Several dogs have been tested from owners who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and only 2 have tested as weak-positive. The dogs showed no symptoms of the disease and were overall unaffected. At this time, experts from the American Veterinary Medical Association and the CDC state that no evidence suggests dogs or cats can become sick from this coronavirus and that further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

2. Does my dog need a face mask or any protective equipment?

You may have seen pictures of fashionable doggy face masks and hazmat suits circulating the internet. As it is unlikely that your dog can contract COVID-19, these masks and suits are unnecessary and uncomfortable for dogs. Keep it to the humans.

Tiny Toy Poodle and Jack Russel Terrier wearing masks for coronavirus

3. Could my dog be a carrier of the virus?

While it is unlikely that dogs can contract COVID-19, could they potentially be a carrier of the disease? There is a lot that is still unknown about the virus, so the answer is….maybe. Tests have shown that COVID-19 can survive for up to 3 days on metal and plastic surfaces. Does this mean it could also survive on the coat of your dog after someone pets him on the street? 

Pet hair and skin is much more porous than materials like plastic and metal. Viruses tend to survive the best on smooth surfaces, making porous elements less transmissible. With the current uncertainty surrounding the virus, pet owners should still practice caution and not let others pet or hug their dogs.

4. Should I stockpile dog food?

The message here is consistent with what the government and Health Canada have been urging: Don’t do it! Stockpiling can limit access to dog food others may need. Most importantly you should continue to stay at home and leverage dog food delivery (yes, that exists and we can help you with that).

Take home message

Fortunately, it seems dogs cannot contact COVID-19 and there is a low chance of fur to skin transmission. Similar to humans, social distancing should be practiced with pets. Owners should still ensure their pets are getting enough exercise, but as a cautionary measure they should not let people on the street or at the dog park pet their dogs. 

For those in quarantine or isolation, just think of how happy your dog is about all the extra one on one time! If you’re stuck at home and in need of dog food, we encourage you to check out Kabo. Along with the benefits of feeding human-grade, fresh dog food we have the ability to deliver to you on a recurring basis, so you stay safe at home.

Stay happy and healthy everyone!

Update: As of April 30, 2020, the first canine in the US tested positive for coronavirus. A little pug named Winston in North Carolina tested weak positive for COVID-19 after three of his human family members came down with the disease. Winston only showed very mild symptoms for a short period of time. Little Winston is doing fine now and doctors say that it is still unlikely that dogs care a carrier for the virus.

Female canine owner showing Dalmatian affection
Female canine owner showing Dalmatian affection

View Sources

CDC. Animals and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (2020).

Pet Food Industry.Com. Coronavirus and pets. (2020).

The Washington Post. How to pet dogs during the coronavirus pandemic. (2020).

David Williams, CNN. "A pug in North Carolina may be the first dog in US to test positive for coronavirus" (2020).

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