It comes from animals.
It started in Wuhan, China, believed to be at a local market that serves both live and dead animals.
It quickly spread around the world, causing Italy to go on lockdown, the largest lockdown to take place in any modern democracy.
It arrived in the United States and caused mass public gathering shutdowns at massive rates.
The World Health Organization has called it an epidemic.
It's the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19.
With all the talk about how it impacts humans (and justifiably so), there has been very little discussion about COVID-19, a disease that at its root impacts animals, and it's impact on our pets.
So I wanted to outline some research I've gathered regarding what impact, risks, and ways to reduce the potential negative impacts of COVID-19 on your pet.
Can Your Pet Get the Coronavirus? Can Pets Spread the Coronavirus?
The short answer is yes, your pet can get Coronavirus. However, the good news is this specific type of Coronavirus that is spreading, COVID-19, is believed to be a very low threat to pets.
Previously, the WHO stated: there’s no evidence that companion animals such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus as of now.
However, this statement has since gone missing from the WHO website. Whether this apparent removal from the website an indication of what could happen to pets is yet to be known.
Nevertheless, the China National Health Commission had this to say: "If pets go out and have contact with an infected person, they have the chance to get infected. By then, pets need to be isolated. In addition to people, we should be careful with other mammals especially pets."
This is consistent with a case out of China where a dog did test positive (low level) for the Coronavirus. With that backdrop, Sheila McClelland with the Hong Kong's Animal Protection Charity said: "Present evidence suggests that dogs are no more of a risk of spreading (coronavirus) than inanimate objects such as door handles."
In other words, it appears the threat to pets to be low, but pets could carry COVID-19 from touch/contact, which is the case with humans too.
How to reduce the risk your pet could transmit COVID-19
The best way to answer this question really comes down to how exposed your pet is to the outside world. If your pet is going outside, mingling with other pets and people, etc., then there is an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.
From what I've researched, the most helpful tips to handle the situation are:
Watch your hands thoroughly after touching your pet if such exposure is a risk.
Clean your pet's paws with a Paw Cleaner
. We have found some great ones here
This is especially true when they come in and out of the house, regardless of where they've been.
You can also wipe down your pet's paws with Paw Wipes
. We found some healthy, hypoallergenic ones here
The bottom line is this: our pets are a precious member of the family. Although the overall risk is low for your furbaby, it may not be a bad idea to practice some good hygiene, for you and them, during this time.