Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you.
In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations. It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as to issues around accessing veterinary care. An additional challenge is that the advice and situation continue to change rapidly and what was known, thought or suggested last week may not hold next week.
There are some aspects that apply regardless of location... including what we know (a little) and don't know (a lot) about possible transmission to or from animals and humans. As with all information about this novel corona virus there is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19 and pets; basically we simply are leaning as we go. Be very cautious about discussions and dire predictions on Facebook and social media from those who likely do not have the appropriate level of expertise. Putting your trust in the types of sources described below is your best bet.
At a local level, dog owners can look for information from their regional veterinary association and even your own veterinarian maybe providing updates. For an example from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, you can see a short video and article here. Prof. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College is referenced in that article and he has a recent blog post where he suggests that, in the face of the uncertainty and with an abundance of caution, "Social distancing and dog walking are compatible… with some common sense".
Dr. Weese says, "To me, social distancing is a whole household activity, not just a human activity. If I wouldn’t go and shake someone’s hand, why would I let the same person pet my dog, and then touch the same spot on my dog myself right away? " It is all about doing everything we can to reduce risk. Be sure to keep up to date on recommendations and restrictions in your area.
For breeders, there are all the issues as for owners in addition to some major concerns about breeding, and rehoming litters. Many of our partner national kennel clubs have been providing information and updates. We have been sharing these on our channels, as again, some issues are the same globally; others are defined regionally. See, e.g. Breeders and coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs from The Kennel Club in the UK, or Placing Puppies in the Age of COVID-19: Safety Advice for Breeders from the American Kennel Club.
There are many broader impacts for dog welfare and human-dog interactions that are developing with the COVID-19 situation. Please check out Brenda's Blog: "DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." Within that blog you are also directed to an excellent discussion of unintended consequences from IPFD collaborator Ian Seath. Our IPFD Board member and President of the German Kennel Club, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, has posted a heartfelt statement that discusses many of the current challenges and those that we have left to face, even when we think things are starting to return to normal. (In German, but perfectly understandable with google translator.)
Below are some links to sites and organizations that are doing a great job with information at an international level pulled together by our IPFD COO, Monique Megens, a Dutch veterinarian, living in Spain, and former president of FECAVA, one of the organizations on the front lines in Europe.
Mid-April 2020: What do we know about dogs and COVID-19 virus?
- Although several dogs have tested positive to COVID-19 virus following close contact with infected humans, to date, there is no evidence that dogs play a significant role in spreading the disease. Therefore, the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) states there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals, which may compromise their welfare.
- When people are sick with COVID-19, when possible, close contact with dogs should be avoided; the dogs should preferably be taken care of by another member of the household, taking appropriate hygiene measures into account.
- Studies are underway to better understand the susceptibility of and risks for other dogs. To stay up-to-date and for more information regarding dogs and COVID-19, go to the OIE website.
Can I still visit my veterinary surgeon
- In many countries, veterinarians are considered to be an essential profession by their national authorities; therefore in most countries you can still visit your vet. However, some vets only see urgent cases; you should always call beforehand.
- For more information: IPFD’s collaborating partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Practitioners (FECAVA) together with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have published advice for pet owners for visiting the vet.
- Information for veterinary teams can be found locally and regionally at, for example from American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and at IPFD’s collaborating partner the World Small Animal Veterinary Association's (WSAVA) website.
In all the craziness and concerns of this pandemic, dogs are a great support to their families. Let's remember them in all the changes, planning and considerations we have for ourselves. We are all in this together.
Stay safe .
En Francais - La Newsletter de la Centrale Canine - beaucoup d'excellentes ressources
auf Deutsch - und weiser Rat von unserem IPFD-Vorstandsmitglied und Präsidenten des Deutschen Kennel Clubs, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, Präsident des VDH. Corona virus