COVID-19 and Your Dog (UPDATE)

This article was originally published on March 20th, but new information has required an update. (6/26/20)

Unless you’ve been completely shut off from the world, you’ve heard about the pandemic caused by the recent strain of Coronavirus. With many working from home, people are left wondering how to keep their dogs occupied or even if petting their dog is safe. 

COVID-19 and Canines

Originally, this post had presented the idea that dogs and cats could not catch the 2019 Coronavirus which was also supported by the CDC and AVMA at the time. However, new evidence shows that pets can catch and carry this virus, but pets are not easily infected. As of June 11th, there have been fewer than 25 reports worldwide of cats and dogs being infected.

The first confirmed case of a canine with COVID-19 was announced on June 2nd. The dog, a German Shepherd that resides in New York, lived with another dog and two owners. One of the owners had exhibited the symptoms of COVID-19, while the other owner and the other dog appeared to be healthy. Both the owner and the German Shepherd are expected to make full recoveries.

Research has shown that while cats & ferrets can spread the virus within their species, dogs are much less likely to spread it to other dogs. These discoveries, like most others about this virus, are fairly new and are still being studied. New information seemingly is reported daily. It is important to stay up to date and check your sources before taking any action. You can check the CDC's website and the AVMA's website for more information.

Getting Through Together

Humans rely on their dogs for a lot of things. Dogs have seen many jobs from hunting all the way to emotional support. So it would seem that your dog is perfectly built to help keep you sane and active during this outbreak.

As much worry as you may have, our dogs are loving having their favorite humans home more. It’s important to figure out a routine that’ll help you and your pup expel some energy and also pass the time.

Think of some games you can play with your dog to help stimulate their mind and entertain yourself. You can do things like:

  • Play hide and seek by hiding and letting your dog search for you. Give them hints by whistling or calling their name if they need a little help or encouragement. Your kids can even play along
  • Hide treats in places around the house and time how long it takes for them to be found
  • Create an obstacle course in your yard and try to get them to run through it
  • Teach them some new tricks! It’s never too late for them to learn something new. Try teaching them how to dance.
  • Have your kids play tug-o-war against them

You can also try out some homemade dog treats to give to your pup for learning some new tricks.

Keeping the Routine

Many dog day camps or parks are closing to create social distancing, which may lead to having a dog around the house that can’t participate in its regular routine.

Keeping some kind of routine will help you, your pup, and your family maintain some sense of normalcy.

You can still maintain a routine, although it’ll be slightly altered. Depending on your area, taking daily walks might be something you need to replace. So instead, try to play in the yard for 30 minutes in the morning. When you come back inside, let them rest while you cuddle up and watch the latest Netflix series. Then around lunchtime, give them a brain teaser. Hide some treats around the house and let them try to find it. In the evening, you can take them outside for another round of fetch or just for some outside time in the yard.

Remember that your dog can help you stay active just as much as you help them. Trying new things during this quarantine could help you and your dog grow!

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