If there is a word or phrase that one could wish never to hear again, it would be COVID-19. What a nightmare the past year or so has been. Many have lost loved ones to this treacherous and unfair disease.

But, what else could go wrong?

You might be wondering, could your pets be affected in the same ways that humans are by COVID-19? 

Well, there is good news about COVID symptoms in dogs and other domesticated animals. Although this virus is a huge threat to humanity, thankfully, it doesn’t affect pets the same way.

Oh, thank goodness!

Some pets have tested positive for COVID-19. This article will answer questions about the rare incidence of COVID symptoms in dogs and cats, as well as treatment options.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc across the globe for the past couple of years. It’s been a rough one.

Many may wonder,

  • Can COVID affect a family pet?
  • Can a pet transmit the virus to a human?
  • What are COVID symptoms in dogs?
  • What if a pet tests positive?

Though much is still unknown about the latest coronavirus, there has been no evidence to show that COVID-19 is transferred from animals to humans.

A few domestic animals have tested positive around the world; the occurrence is sporadic. Honestly, if an animal has upper respiratory symptoms, it’s much more likely they are suffering from a form of bronchitis in dogs than COVID-19.

COVID-19 in Dogs

Covid-19 in Dogs
First things first, COVID-19 is just one of many coronaviruses affecting mainly humans. The small number of dogs that have been infected with COVID-19 rarely showed clinical signs.

Dogs that have shown signs of upper respiratory distress after contracted COVID-19 had other plausible underlying issues that may have contributed to the onset of symptoms.

The case of the 17-year-old Pomeranian that tested positive for CoVID-19, is a prime example of this.

COVID-19 in dogs should not be confused with canine coronavirus, which is specific to dogs causing gastrointestinal discomfort.

How Do Dogs Contract COVID-19?

How Do Dogs Contract Covid-19
There’s no way to sugarcoat this one. Dogs and cats contract COVID-19 from humans. Dogs and cats are not super susceptible to COVID-19. The only cases of COVID-19 in animals are those where they were in close contact with humans that had the disease.

Some think that COVID is more of a veil that a dog wears as a result of being handled by an infected human. While the dog is not necessarily affected within the body.

There is no evidence that dogs can transmit COVID-19 to any human.

How Does COVID-19 in Dogs Spread?

  1. Close contact with a human with the virus
  2. Being handled or pet by someone with the virus

Symptoms of COVID-19 in Dogs

Symptoms of Covid in Dogs
A dog with symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 could also be experiencing a form of bronchitis in dogs
. Bronchitis encompasses several respiratory conditions that manifest with mild symptoms.

Respiratory conditions like Bordetella Bronchiseptica are widespread in dogs. Situations such as these knock down the immune system temporarily and could contribute to more pronounced symptoms.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  1. Cough
  2. Fever
  3. Lethargy
  4. Difficulty breathing
  5. Sneezing
  6. Ocular discharge
  7. Runny nose

Cough

Coughing is a prevalent symptom of upper respiratory infections like kennel cough, parainfluenza and the like. Coughing has been reported as a COVID symptom in dogs as well as cats and humans.

Fever

A dog with a fever is a definite sign that veterinary or emergency help is needed. Remember, dogs run a lot hotter than humans.

A healthy dog or cat’s temperature can run anywhere from 38.3° C to 39.2° C (101°F – 102.5°F). If a pet’s temperature is above 40° C (104° F) or falls below 37.2° C (99° F), contact a vet or emergency right away.

Lethargy

A pet who has become disinterested in the things they enjoy or is constantly sleeping may be experiencing something that requires medical attention. COVID-19 may not be the culprit, but lethargy is a sign of many possible issues.

Sneezing

An infrequent sneeze alone is not a reason to worry. However, constant sneezing with nasal secretions may be a symptom of many viral and bacterial infections. Consult the vet.

Allergies can also be a reason for sneezing in pets. Sneezing in dogs and cats can also result from irritants like:

  • dust
  • pollen
  • smoke
  • essential oils

Difficulty Breathing

Another common symptom of upper respiratory infections in animals and humans is difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing can result in wheezing.

Ocular Discharge

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye to humans, is a symptom of many respiratory infections and a COVID symptom in dogs. Conjunctivitis causes a gooey discharge to run from the eyes in an attempt to clear irritation.

Runny Nose & Sneezing

Much like humans, upper respiratory infections cause snotty, runny noses, even in cats and dogs. Many mammals shed the disease through ocular and nasal discharge, which is one of the ways viruses are transferred. Avoiding large groups of strange humans and animals may prove to be the best option while a pet is recovering.

Treatment and Remedies for COVID-19 in Dogs

Treatment and Remedies for Covid in Dogs
Treatments and remedies for COVID-19 are similar to those of any culprit of Dog Cough. Again, COVID-19 is so rare in animals that it’s barely an issue.

In the case that Fido is experiencing COVID symptoms in dogs, most symptoms can be cured with some supportive home care, natural remedies, and, if necessary, help from the veterinarian.

Supportive Care

It may seem too simple, but some good old-fashioned rest and other basic recovery methods are always a crucial step to improvement.

  • Rest & relaxation
  • Hydration
  • Clean eating
  • Isolation

Natural Remedies

Not all medicine comes from the store or the doctor’s office. Humans and animals have access to some of the most potent natural antioxidants proven to help eliminate infections, soothe a sore throat or calm a bothersome cough.

  • Honey
  • Coconut oil
  • Slippery elm

Veterinarian’s Help

A vet may recommend some extra help for calming cough, especially if another culprit like Bordetella Bronchiseptica is suspected.

  • Cough suppressants
  • Antibiotics
COVID Symptoms in DogsTreatment 
Cough

Fever

Lethargy

Difficulty breathing

Sneezing

Ocular discharge

Runny nose

Rest & relaxation

Hydration

Clean eating

Isolation

Honey

Coconut oil

Slippery elm

…And Another Thing!

Although any Zoonotic (originating in animals and transmitted to humans) factors of SARS-CoV-2 are entirely unknown, a study was conducted to understand the COVID-19 infection in cats and dogs.

The study showed that though animals are susceptible to infection, none of the animals in the study showed clinical signs. However, cats who tested positive for COVID-19 shed the virus for five days after the initial infection while dogs did not. During this time, cats were able to transmit the virus to other cats via direct contact. 

Cats who were reinfected with COVID-19 actually developed an immune response. Scientists are excited about this discovery because cats may be an avenue to a vaccine.

COVID-19 in Cats

Covid in Cats
Not to be confused with Feline Coronavirus, COVID-19 in cats is an infrequent occurrence. The small number of pet cats that have tested positive were living with a human who had tested positive for COVID in the past, leading scientists to conclude that COVID is transmitted by humans only.

In April of 2021, the first two cases of pet cats with COVID emerged in the U.K. Scientists determined that both of the cats that tested positive were a result of human-to-cat transmission. 

Around the same time, the first two pet cats with COVID emerged in the U.S., Of course raising more questions about whether or not people should be worried. Again, the cases were those of human-to-cat transmission.

Cats who tested positive for COVID-19 showed anywhere from mild to severe respiratory symptoms, similar to those of kennel cough.

Symptoms of COVID-19 in Cats

Symptoms of Covid in Cats
Symptoms of COVID-19 in cats are similar to those of an upper respiratory infection or Cat cough. They are the same as those in dogs, including:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Vomiting
Sometimes, cats will show no symptoms at all. Usually, symptoms that do manifest can be treated at home, along with supportive care and attention from a loving pet parent.

Treatment and Remedies for COVID in Cats

Treatment and Remedies of Covid in Cats
Treatment and Remedies for COVID in Cats are similar to those for COVID in dogs with just a few differences.

  1. Rest
  2. Hydration
  3. Healthy nutrition
  4. Isolation

Rest

There’s nothing like some good R&R to kick a lingering sickness. Give your cat the space they need to rest and relax.

Hydration

Cats don’t have sweat glands, so they retain water better than dogs and don’t tend to lap up water like dogs. So, cats may need a little encouragement to stay hydrated while they’re feeling ill.

Healthy Nutrition

Some cats may lose their appetite while they are feeling under the weather.

Eating too little or low-quality foods will only hinder your cat’s recovery. Offer foods high in antioxidants but remember that cats’ bellies are sensitive, so don’t go making abrupt changes to their diet.

Steam Therapy

A humidifier or steam therapy is great for loosening up any congestion and providing some relief for a cat with upper respiratory symptoms. Placing a humidifier or vaporizer in the vicinity of a congested cat or dog can do wonders.

Isolation

In a way, cats are easier to isolate than dogs. Let them stay in their favourite room of the house with fresh food and water in clean bowls. Put a clean litter pan in one corner, and check on them often.

*Cats can spread COVID to other cats through shedding. If there are other cats in the house, this is when it is essential to isolate them.
COVID Symptoms in CatsTreatment
Cough

Fever

Lethargy

Difficulty breathing

Sneezing

Runny nose and eyes

Vomiting

Rest

Hydration

Healthy nutrition

Steam therapy

Isolation

Tips to Avoid COVID-19 in Pets

Prevention for Covid in Pets
To be clear, pets don’t give humans COVID; humans give pets COVID
. So to avoid any possibility, here are some tips for COVID prevention in animals.

  1. Stranger danger!
  2. Social distance
  3. Avoid places with a lot of people
  4. Don’t freak out if an animal tests positive

Stranger danger!

Okay, so maybe not in the apparent sense of the word, but there are some weirdos out there. However, when it comes to COVID, don’t be afraid to tell friendly dog lovers to keep their grubby hands-off. Crossing the street could also be a less confrontational avoidance tactic.

Social Distance

The same rules that apply to humans may be applied to animals when it comes to CoVID-19. Keep them six feet away from folks that aren’t familiar or vaccinated.

Avoid Crowds

Oh, those were the days when a pet dog went to the corner cafe while their human enjoyed a latte. Back when petting dogs was the best thing to do at the local bar. Well, sorry to say those days are over.

Who doesn’t want to pet all of the dogs?! So unless a dog mom or dad wants to continuously tell people not to touch their pet, stay out of those situations.

Don’t Freak Out If Your Pet Tests Positive

Listen, obviously, someone had COVID and then snuggled or petted the animal. Don’t blame them. If a pet has COVID, it was no fault of their own. Most times, symptoms are mild, and with a bit of guidance from your vet and maybe some home remedies, everything will be fine.

What If Your Pet Tests Positive For SARS-CoV-2, The Virus That Causes COVID-19?

Sars and CoV-2 in Pets

  1. Keep calm
  2. Consult with a veterinarian
  3. Isolate the animal
  4. Do not bathe pets in anything weird to disinfect!

Keep Calm

A handful of animals worldwide have tested positive for COVID, and most of them are asymptomatic. Compared to the 170 million humans that have contracted COVID worldwide, it is pretty amazing that more pets haven’t tested positive.

Considering that about 57% of the world’s population own pets, there would be way more cases of pets with COVID by now if it was a real threat.

Consult With A Veterinarian

A pet who tests positive for COVID has presumably already seen the vet, who will probably say things similar to this article. It is always wise to speak with a veterinarian that has known the animal through the years.

Veterinarians may have inclinations into some preexisting conditions that a pet might have or may offer insight into other viruses that could mimic the symptoms of COVID-19. Vets can also provide advice on remedies and treatment for any existing symptoms.

Isolate The Animal

Isolation is an integral part of recovery from any virus. Although dogs don’t shed the COVID-19 after an infection like cats, neither of them shed enough to infect humans. So, the isolation is more for the safety of other animals in the home.

How To Isolate Your Pet

As one would imagine, pets don’t want to be locked in a room alone for hours or days. So, we modify quarantine to be a cozy, safe haven for healing and recovery.

  • Use a spare room or even a corner of the house.
  • Make a comfy spot using freshly washed blankets and bedding.
  • Offer fresh water and food in clean bowls separate from other pets.
  • A humidifier in the room can help immensely with congestion and other COVID symptoms in dogs.
  • Dogs aren’t known for shedding the virus, but cats do for about five days. To prevent infection in other cats, they need to avoid contact for at least five days.

Please note that there is absolutely no evidence that CoVID-19 is transmitted from pets to humans. None. Most cats aren’t great at taking orders, so if they don’t respect the quarantine, it will most likely be fine, no need to fret.

Do not bathe pets in anything weird.

DO NOT disinfect pets with anything weird like peroxide, alcohol, bleach, Mr. Clean, or anything to that effect! Regular dog shampoo or baby shampoo works just fine. Keep it together.

Conclusion

COVID has devastated humans through the past couple of years. However, pet owners do not need to worry themselves into a tizzy about the welfare of their canine or feline BFF.

Awareness is a pet parent’s best tool in the health of their fur baby. So, be cautious and careful, but don’t let the world pass by. There are many pet and parent adventures to be had!