When the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 novel coronavirus as a global pandemic, there was panic worldwide. The concern was not just limited to how it will affect humans but also about pets’ health.
Fortunately, only a few pet causes of COVID-19 have been reported. And most of the dogs that were infected only experienced mild symptoms. So far, no pet death due to COVID-19 has been reported. Moreover, there is no evidence that dogs can transmit the virus to other humans.
With that said, the world is still learning about the coronavirus. And now that we already know that dogs can contract COVID-19, the next most important question is “how to tell if your dog has COVID?”
6 Signs to Watch For If You Think Your Dog Has COVID-19
Just like the COVID-19 virus primarily affects the respiratory tract among humans, it does the same in pets such as dogs. Some of the common signs to watch for if you think your dog has COVID-19 are
A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius). In case your dog gets a fever (with a body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and above), it may be a possible indication of the infection. However, it is not the only sign, and you don’t have to panic. Dogs can get fever due to several other infections, and COVID-19 is one of them.
If you think your dog has a fever, it is best to consult your veterinarian.
Another common symptom that your dog may experience as a result of a COVID-19 infection is coughing. While coughing alone is often not a cause of concern, when combined with other symptoms on the list, it could be a possible indication of COVID-19. If your dog has coughing that has lasted for more than 5-7 days, it is best to consult your vet.
Difficulty Breathing/Shortness Of Breath
As soon as you notice that your dog has difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, immediately call your vet. While it may not be safe to take your pet to the clinic, most vets are now offering telehealth facilities, so make sure you schedule an appointment right away.
Other Common Cold Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to the common cold, but given the circumstance, if you find your pet sneezing, having a runny nose, or watery eyes, it is best to consult your pet’s vet.
Often gastrointestinal symptoms may also appear as a result of the coronavirus infection. If your dog gets diarrhea or vomiting along with any of the other symptoms highlighted above, it could be a possible indication of COVID-19 infection.
If you notice your pet is unusually lazy or sluggish, it could be a possible indication of COVID-19.
While these are some of the common symptoms that most dogs infected by the virus have experienced, some pets did not show any signs of illness. In case you notice these conditions with your dog, it is best to consult your vet as soon as possible.
What to Do Next?
Most pets experience mild symptoms of COVID-19, but depending upon the severity of your dog’s symptoms, it is best to consult with an animal healthcare official. Depending upon the symptoms, your vet may recommend COVID-19 testing for your pet if required. The state animal health official will get the sample from your pet using appropriate protective measures. If your pet is tested for COVID-19 and confirmed to be infected, your vet may recommend isolating your dog at home. It is the safest alternative to staying at the hospital.
Even if your pet appears to be feeling better, avoid the following activities until approved by your vet even if the above-mentioned symptoms have subsided.
- Visits to vet clinics without giving a call to your vet first.
- Visit to other human healthcare facilities, parks, markets, and other gatherings.
- Visits to your pet’s groomer.
- Visits to your pet’s daycares or boarding facilities.
Protecting Yourself While Taking Care of Your Dog
When taking care of a sick dog at home, make sure you follow the guidelines to protect yourself and those around you.
- While there is still no evidence of the virus being transmitted to humans from dogs, it is best to isolate your pet in a specific room where they can stay separately from other people in the house.
- When attending your dog, you must wear a face mask and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid kissing, licking, sharing food, or bed with your infected pet.
- Never clean up your infected dog with a disinfectant or sanitizer. However, you can still disinfect all bowls, toys and other items used by your infected dog using the CDC recommended guidelines for disinfection.
Monitor Your Pet’s Symptoms
As your dog stays at home, you must keep track of your pet’s symptoms throughout the recommended isolation period. If the existing symptoms worsen or your dog develops any new or usual symptoms, call your vet without any delays. It may be a good idea to keep a log of your pet’s symptoms so you can closely monitor your pet’s symptoms.
When to End Your Pet’s Home Isolation?
It is best to stick to your vet’s advice when it is safe again for your pet to be around other people and animals. Some pets may need a follow-up test to see if the virus still infects them. Others can end their movement restriction if they don’t show any sign of COVID-19 without any medication for more than three days. Or it has been at least 14 days since they were last tested positive for the infection.
By keeping a check on your dog feels, you can tell if your dog has COVID-19, but it is best to keep in touch with your pet’s vet.