What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, now known as COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Can my dog or cat get this virus?
While there is a strain of canine coronavirus (unrelated to the 2019-nCoV/COVID-19) that can be contracted by oral contact with infected fecal matter, there is no evidence that pets can be infected with this new virus as stated by WHO. However, it is always suggested that you wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.
[UPDATE, 6 Mar] In a recent news conference with Ministry of Health, Singapore, it was announced that while COVID-19 is not known to last very long outside the body or on surfaces, both individual-to-animal and animal-to-individual transmissions can still be theoretically possible if an individual touches a pet soon after droplets are shared.
Can I pass this virus to my pets?
There have been no reported cases of pets getting the new 2019-nCoV/COVID-19 virus from humans and vice versa.
[UPDATE, 6 Mar] According to Hong Kong authorities (and supported by MOH Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak), the pet dog of a COVID-19 patient in Hong Kong was confirmed to have the virus as well.
With that in mind, pet owners should still stay vigilant and take precautions to keep your dogs and cats safe during this 2019-nCoV/COVID-19 period. Here are some ways to keep your pets safe from viruses.
1. Keep your pets and their environment clean
Give your pets regular showers according to their needs. Some popular shampoos include YÚ shampoo for dogs & cats and Dermcare medicated shampoo. Do NOT bathe your pets every day as that would be more detrimental than helpful! On the other hand, if you do not have the time to shower your pets, wiping them down with these grooming wipes would be helpful as well.
Keep the area your pets live in clean and clean up their waste religiously. Use these pet-friendly cleaners or use Simple Solution's enzymatic cleaners that help with stubborn stains and odors but uses an all-natural solution.
2. Eat well-cooked food
Raw food is known to be carriers of bacteria when not prepared properly. Instead, cook for your pets or choose from a variety of well-formulated dog food or cat food from perromart. Pick from brands like Taste of the Wild, Absolute Holistic, Monge, Kit Cat & more!
If you would still like to feed your dogs and cats a raw diet, go for freeze-dried raw food instead. Brands such as Primal freeze-dried for dogs & cats promise quality assurance where every lot of finished products are tested negative for pathogenic bacteria. You may also consider other freeze-dried brands like WOOF or MEOW freeze-dried food, K9 natural and more!
3. Do NOT let your pets eat poop
Most viruses and diseases are spread through fecal matters. Do not allow your pets to eat their poop and consider using preventive methods like Solid Gold stop eating poop supplement. Also, be a responsible pet owner and pick up after your dog when he pees or poos outdoors. Arm yourself with a bottle of water and poop bags when going out for walks! Doing your part helps allow other dogs to enjoy their walks without constantly worrying.
4. Keep them clean after walks
After a walk, it is always advisable to wipe your pet down with a wet cloth or with pet wipes. Not only does this keep your house clean, but it also helps to remove any germs or pesticides that came into contact with their fur. This also applies to cats who sometimes roam the neighbourhood. Choose from Absorb Plus anti-bacterial pet wipes for both dogs and cats or Kit Cat's 5-in-1 wipes for cats.
During this period, if you would like to limit the number of walks your pets have, don't forget to offer them a place in your home to eliminate. Prepare by getting your hands on some pee trays and pee pads or cat litters and litter trays & boxes.
5. Boost their immune system
Just like humans, dogs and cats with a healthy immune system will be less susceptible to viruses. Take steps to bolster your pets' immune system! This usually starts with a great digestive system. Consider supplementing your pets' diet with probiotics which helps in building a healthy gut or these supplements that help with building a good immunity system.