Earlier this month, news reports stated that a dog in Hong Kong tested “weak positive” for the novel Coronavirus that is causing health concerns for humans, globally.
Should pet owners be alarmed? Here’s what we know so far about the coronavirus in regards to dogs and humans.
The COVID-19 virus can live on surfaces for a small amount of time, and technically, a dog can count as a “surface”. The Pomeranian that tested “weak positive” had nasal and mouth testing done. Experts are saying that this is an example of human to dog transmission, but tests are still underway to learn more.
A weak positive test result means that a small amount of COVID-19 was present in the samples, but as quoted in a fact sheet by a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, it doesn’t tell if the samples “contain intact viruses which are infectious or just fragments of the RNA, which are not contagious.”
It’s still important to take careful measures to protect yourself by washing your hands after touching a pet. Hand washing should also be done after handling pet food, toys or other supplies to minimize risk of transmission through a contaminated surface. Avoid kissing your dog and implement proper hygienic practices in your home by regularly disinfecting to further enhance safety.
Most importantly, don’t forget those cuddles (washing up afterwards, of course). Having a pet has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, so get cozy at home, spend time together and stay safe with your 4 legged best friend by your side.