When Winston, a pug in North Carolina, was tested positive for COVID-19, there was a new wave of panic. Its owners were front-line healthcare professionals who too were tested COVID-19 positive. Winston’s other reports came out negative while the first report too did not qualify for COVID-19.

It is not yet believed that dogs are at a threat from the specific COVID-19. The Canine Coronavirus, also CCoV, affects dogs’ stomach and large and small intestines, leading to gastrointestinal problems. It is found only in dogs and is not same as SARS COV 2 or COVID-19. It is spread among dogs through contaminated fecal matter, direct close contact with infected dogs, or even infected food and water bowls. It is often treated symptomatically and with antibiotics to limit the secondary infections.

World Health Organization states that as yet, there is no established proof that a pet can get infected by COVID-19 from a human. This contagion is so far limited to human to human, through nasal/oral pathway. Since dogs are also mammals, there can be a slight chance of them testing positive for the virus. It is because mammals share certain similar types of cells and receptors, which are attacked by the novel coronavirus. In theory, it can spread to mammals. However, the chances are dim that the COVID-19 can get into dogs, attack their cells, and start replicating to make them sick.

There is no reason to panic and feel fearful of your pets at home. Scientists are constantly conducting studies on this virus as well as its possible spread from dogs or other animals to humans. So far, there has been no evidence found.  As an owner of a pet and as a responsible and informed citizen, you must wash your hands thoroughly before and after petting your dog or giving them food. Also, you must refrain from getting too close, kissing them, and sharing food with them till the pandemic fear looms large.

If you are COVID-19 positive and have a dog at home, you must arrange for your own quarantine. You must also arrange for an extra help to look after your dog, his food and walks.