Can your dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig become infected with corona or can they transmit the virus to humans? And are you allowed to touch your pets?
According to Dibevo, the industry association for pet business entrepreneurs, there is no evidence that pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs can be infected with or transmit the corona virus. Rumor had it of a corona-infected dog in Hong Kong. However, this was not true: the animal turned out not to be infected afterwards. So it is about the owners and not about the animals. This is also confirmed by the University of Wageningen and RIVM.
We inquire with Els Broens, veterinary microbiologist at Utrecht University. Reporter Fons Hendriks video calls with her.
Can your pet be infected with corona or spread the virus?
As far as we know now and what other countries like China and Hong Kong and other countries know is that dogs and cats cannot contract coronavirus. Nor do they play a role in the spread between people, « says Broens.
This does not only apply to pets. Poultry or cows cannot transmit the virus either. The government site states: « So far, there are no indications that farm animals can be infected with the corona virus SARS-CoV-2, or that they are a source of infection for humans. If livestock farmers are infected with the virus, the advice is to avoid farm animals because they are part of the food chain. «
Can I still go outside with my pet?
Yes, if you have no complaints like fever, cough or cold, you can just walk your dog. If you keep at least 1.5 meters away from others, there is little chance that others can infect you with the coronavirus. « Your dog can also play together with other dogs on the playing field, » says Broens.
Do I have to take extra precautions, extra disinfect the food or water bowl or give my pet extra vitamins?
« In principle, this is not necessary. We say you should follow the general hygiene measures. That’s something you should always do. Don’t get licked in your face. Or the dog cat prefers not in the bedroom or in bed. That is something we have always advised against. And that is still the case in this case. «
What if there is a general lockdown, can I still go outside with my pet?
« Cats can go outside as usual. But I assume there will be an exception for dog owners, that you can just walk around the block with your dog. «
Can you catch the corona virus if someone else strokes your pet and you are infected with corona, but you don’t know that?
« It may be the same as touching the same door handle as someone who has corona. So it might be helpful to try to prevent other people from coming into contact with your dog. We still assume that dogs and cats do not play a role in the spread, but the chance is never zero. «
Is it safe to pet or hug your pet?
« Yes, but don’t let the pet get too close to your face. So don’t let it lick! «
What if the owner has corona, can he safely take care of his pet?
According to experts, the advice is to avoid contact with pets as much as possible. In such a situation it is better to leave the care to non-infected people. Because if you are infected with corona you should not walk your dog yourself to prevent further spread of the virus.
Can I safely go to the vet with a sick animal?
According to the site of the Royal Dutch Society for Veterinary Medicine (the professional organization for veterinarians) you can simply have a sick animal treated at the vet. Only those who are ill: such as a cold, cough and fever, should stay at home. Also, only 1 companion per animal can go to the vet. And in practice you have to keep a sufficient distance of at least 1.5 meters between other owners and also not shake hands. Veterinarians adhere to the hygiene measures of RIVM in the approach of the owner. And prefer to pay by debit card instead of cash.