and can I get it from my pets?
Pet owners have been asking their veterinarians if they can get COVID-19 from their cat or dog. Since we now know they CAN get COVID-19 (more so in cats than dogs) it’s a valid question.
Usually the next question is from the vet. “Has anyone in your family been exposed/diagnosed with COVID-19?”
It’s highly unlikely your pet is hanging out with a bunch of other pets that they don’t know, indoors especially, or going to super spreader events. Is it possible? Yes. The likelihood? No.
In fact there are no current documented cases of a cat or dog transferring COVID-19 to their owner. Not to mention there are only a few cases of pets contracting COVID-19 as well. There is, however, cases of a ferret transferring COVID-19 to a human. So, unless someone reading this owns a ferret or bat that doesn’t like to practice social distancing, you should be fine. Since we know cats and dogs can get COVID-19, if anyone in your family is sick, they should stay quarantined from their pet as well as family members.
There are hand sanitizers every few yards it seems, and frequent hand washing is recommended by the CDC to avoid exposure to COVID19. Here are some other the tips to think about to lower your risk of exposure.
- No kisses. As much as some of us don’t mind, or rather love, getting kisses from our pets, it’s the easiest way to transfer bacteria or viruses such as COVID19. Mucus is a good medium and can increases the amount of viral load that can be transferred compared to only breathing it in the air.
- Wash your hands. If you’ve been playing, petting, or cleaning up their poop, you should wash your hands. This protects from other germs and environmental allergies, too, especially if they are outdoor a lot.
- Wash your pet. The more often they are outside or playing with other dogs/cats (let’s be honest most cats don’t socialize) the more often you should bath them. There is a chance for exposure to COVID-19 through transferring from touch so wash them often. You may want to avoid petting strangers’ pets and vice versa -I know that’s a hard one to resist but at least wash your hands afterwards!
- Wash their stuff. Bedding, food/water bowls, favorite washable toys. Again, I would consider how often they are exposed to people or dogs outside of your COVID bubble to determine the frequency of washing their stuff.
- Throw out their poop. Scientist can detect surges of COVID-19 levels through sewage. Indoor or outdoor –clean it up quickly to reduce risk/exposure to yourself or other pets. Ginger this is for you – stop eating the cat’s poop!
- Vit D! Even though they love sitting in the sun, dogs and cats don’t produce Vitamin D in their skin! Most brand foods have adequate Vit D but if you are making your pet’s food you may need to speak with a pet nutritionist. Several human studies have shown lower levels of Vit D are linked to a higher death rate for those infected with COVID-19.
- Exercise and Playtime! Let your pet exercise if they like to! It’s good to keep their cardiovascular health up. It can also keep stress and anxiety levels low which can help maintain a healthy immune system.
- De-stress. Like us, stress can have a negative impact on the immune system. First try to avoid the stress if you know what it is, but you can also treat it. Although there is not a lot of studies showing CBD and anxiety, there seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence. Human and pets both have an endocannabinoid system, so we can probably theorize CBD may help.
- Herbs! In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have several herbs that have shown antibacterial and antiviral effects. Some herbs, like astragalus and reishi mushrooms, have shown to have immune-potentiating effects on the immune system. As we age, our immune system naturally starts to decline so anything that can help strengthen it would have to be a part of the fountain of youth. There have also been several current studies using Chinese Herbs to help reduce the duration of COVID-19 infection. If you are looking for something extra to help your pet’s immune system, FOREVER YOUNG has astragalus, reishi mushrooms, and several other herbs that are believed to not only strengthen the immune system but also improve cardiovascular, liver, and kidney health.
But my dog is coughing!
Kennel cough or other respiratory problems are more likely the cause. Before insisting on a COVID-19 test, unless they’ve had direct contact, you may want to let your veterinarian decide which diagnostic tests should be done first. We all know how much veterinarian bills can add up!