Can Your Dog Play With Other Dogs During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Here's what we know about the risk of coronavirus transmission from dogs playing.
Dogs are inherently social creatures, whether they're trying to please their owners or playing with their furry friends at the park. However, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the activities your dog typically loves could actually pose a risk to them—and to you. If you are one of many pet owners asking yourself if your dog can play with other dogs during the coronavirus pandemic, read on to see what experts say.
According to the CDC, some pets outside of the United States—including cats and dogs—have become infected with the virus, leading many people to wonder: Can I catch coronavirus from my dog? While the CDC notes that pets are unlikely to be a source of transmission to humans, they still recommend taking precautions when you and your dog are out and about. Namely—and perhaps sadly for your pup—that means no greeting other dogs outdoors.
"In the very rare chance that the other person that you encounter was an asymptomatic carrier and the dog was carrying the virus on their fur, [they] could pass the virus to your dog's fur and then on to you," explains Sara Ochoa, DVM, a veterinary consultant for DogLab.
While Ochoa notes that the likelihood of this happening is very rare, she adds, "Since we are learning new things about this virus every day, I have been recommending that people not let their pets play with other dogs or other people."
Ochoa says that if you have tested positive for COVID-19, there are additional precautions you should take with your pet at home. She recommends finding alternative caregivers for your dog for at least two weeks, if possible. If not, she suggests putting up baby gates to keep them corralled within your home, limiting your contact with them and their bowls, leashes, beds, and toys, and saying no to those puppy kisses for the time being.
However, if your dog does happen to come into contact with another person or dog while you're out and about, don't panic.
"Wiping the pet down with a washcloth and water or dog shampoo, or bathing them, will appropriately disinfect [them]," says Gary Richter, DVM, a veterinary health expert with Rover. He also recommends washing their leash and collar if they've had contact with others.
And if you're feeling bad about your dog having limited interaction with their canine kin, don't worry. Ochoa recommends giving your pup plenty of play time with you or members of your household, taking them on regular walks, or getting them new toys if you're in a position to do so. "I have even had video calls with friends and our pets," she says. "They really enjoyed barking at each other over the camera!" And for more ways to keep yourself safe, learn 15 Ways to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus at Home.