I walk my dog daily on an open trial to get outside and exercise. My Goldens love getting petted so they will walk over to other dog owners and try to encourage some love back with good pets and calming words. But then I asked myself, “Is this safe to do not knowing if that person may be a carrier of COVID-19?” So I went to some good sources and this is what I found…
- According to the World Health Organization there is no indication that dogs-or any other pets-can transmit this virus to humans through droplets. If an infected owner sneezed on its pet and you petted that dog, the dog’s fur or skin could potentially be contaminated by the virus. If you then petted the dog soon afterward and touched your nose or mouth, then it’s possible it could be transmitted.
- People infected by the coronavirus should stay away from pets, as they should from people. It’s best to refrain from touching others’ dogs because its owner could be asymptomatic.
- According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there is lack of evidence to be overly concerned about people contracting COVID-19 through contact with dogs or cats.
- Airborne transmission is the primary route whereas environmental contamination via surfaces is a secondary route of transmission. This virus survives best on smooth surfaces such as countertops and doorknobs. Porous materials, such as pet fur, tend to absorb and trap pathogens, which makes it harder to contract the virus through touch.
- Always wash your hands before and after dog petting.
- I contacted my vet, and she suggested that I try to avoid people petting our dogs because of the uncertainty of knowing whether they are an asymptomatic carrier or not. She suggests using a shampoo wipe or waterless shampoo wipes on their fur after someone has touched them to be safe.
I recommend getting the advice of your vet. They may have more research on the subject. We need our pets more than ever during this time of uncertainty and isolation. The human animal bond is extremely important for animal health so hug your pets but keep that social distancing with other humans.