Can Chihuahuas Get Covid19? Truth Revealed!
Rewind to January 2020... What feels like forever ago, it was then that our daily lives were considered "normal". Before long, toilet paper and hand sanitizer were in short supply, weddings canceled, schools and colleges shut down, and masks would be required in public. Although 2020 has been marked by worry and loneliness, there were constant signs of kindness when we least expected it, endless love supplied by our precious Chihuahuas (of course), and now, glimmers of hope.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 novel coronavirus to be a global pandemic. As the virus spread and panic rose, pet owners were not only concerned for their own health, they began to worry about the health and safety of their beloved dogs, cats, and other pets as well.
As we continue full speed ahead into 2021, it's important to break down the facts that we know about the coronavirus, and the big question on every Chihuahua owner's mind: can my dog get the coronavirus?
Can Chihuahuas contract COVID-19?
Yes, Chihuahuas can contract coronaviruses and test positive for the virus. Most commonly it is called the canine respiratory coronavirus. However, this very specific COVID-19 coronavirus is not believed to be a health threat to your pooch.
Only a few household pets have been confirmed to be infected with the virus. Some of these pets did not show any signs of illness. The ones that did get sick all had mild symptoms and were taken care of at home by their owners. None have died from the infection.
Can Chihuahuas spread COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare.”
The CDC has also stated that "Although we know certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets. However, because animals can sometimes carry other germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, including washing hands before and after interacting with them."
Chihuahuas sick with COVID-19 may have:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Lethargy (unusual laziness or sluggishness)
- Runny nose
- Eye discharge
Should my Chihuahua be tested for coronavirus?
Dog owners sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with their pets and any other animals as well. However, you do not need to have your Chihuahua tested for the coronavirus. Per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “at this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended."
How can I protect my Chihuahua from coronavirus?
People with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals. We are learning more every day about the particular virus that causes COVID-19, but research has shown it can spread from people to animals in some situations. If you suspect you are sick with COVID-19 or have tested positive, restrict contact with your Chihuahua family member, just like you would do with your other loved ones. Do not put a mask on your Chihuahua. Masks can harm your pet.
If it is possible, have another family member or friend in your household care for your pet while you are quarantined. If you cannot arrange separate care, avoid any direct contact with your Chihuahua including petting, cuddling, kisses, being licked, sharing food, and sleeping in the same room. You should wash your hands before and after any interaction if you are feeling sick.
If you suspect your Chihuahua is sick with the coronavirus, call your veterinarian or set up a virtual meeting with them as soon as possible. Let them know you have tested positive for COVID-19 and your dog is now showing signs of illness. Your veterinarian can evaluate your Chihuahua's symptoms and determine the best approach for your little dog’s treatment and care.
What should I do if I think my Chihuahua has COVID-19?
- Always keep your Chihuahua safe at home, except to get needed care from his or her veterinarian.
- Talk with your veterinarian regularly. Make sure to call or schedule an appointment before you take your precious pet to the clinic. Alert your veterinarian immediately if your Chihuahua seems to have any sort of trouble breathing, or if you think it is a medical emergency.
- Most Chihuahuas and other dogs will appear to show only mild symptoms or sometimes no symptoms at all. If your pet appears to be feeling better and symptoms appear to be decreasing, we recommend that you still do not engage in the following activities until your veterinarian clears that your pet has met the requirements to end their isolation:
- Appointments at your local veterinary clinic (without calling the veterinarian first).
- Visits to schools or colleges.
- Visits to markets, grocery stores, or any type of large gatherings.
- Appointments at the groomer. Mobile grooming salons should also be avoided.
- Being dropped off at pet daycares or boarding facilities.
- Playdates with other dogs.
Can I walk my Chihuahua or go to a dog park?
Dog parks are a favorite to pet owners and those who pass by alike. They provide important socialization, exercise and allow time for critical training. All of this is an important part of our four-legged friend's wellbeing. However, because of the risk that people with COVID-19 could spread the virus to their animals or others, the CDC advises that you do not let your pets interact with anyone outside of your household at this time. Chihuahua owners should consider avoiding dog parks.
If you choose to visit a dog park, we recommend the following guidelines to reduce the chance of you or your Chihuahua getting infected.
- Do not take your Chihuahua to a dog park if you are feeling sick, have tested positive, or have recently been in any sort of close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
- Do not take your Chihuahua to a dog park if your Chihuahua has been feeling sick or showing symptoms.
- Talk to your veterinarian about when should your Chihuahua return to normal activities if they have recently tested positive for the virus.
- Try your best to limit your Chihuahua’s interaction with other people.
- Avoid touching common and shared items in the dog park like water bowls. However, fresh water is an important part of playtime so consider bringing a portable water bowl.
- Do not bring toys that cannot be easily washed and cleaned.
See more information on pets and COVID-19 and recommendations for how to help keep your pet safe.
Can I use hand sanitizer on my Chihuahua?
Do not wipe or bathe your pet with any type of chemical disinfectant including alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other similar cleaners. Talk to your veterinarian about appropriate products for bathing or cleaning your Chihuahua.
If your Chihuahua accidentally gets hand sanitizer on their skin or fur, rinse or wipe them down with water immediately. Contact your veterinarian or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately if your pet ingests hand sanitizer. The APCC is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A consultation fee may apply.
What you need to know about the coronavirus if you have a Chihuahua according to the CDC:
- A small number of pets worldwide have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.
- The risk of dogs spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
- It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.
- Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
- Do not put a mask on your Chihuahua. Masks can harm your pet.
- Do not use hand sanitizer on your pet.
- If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
- Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
- Be aware that children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and older adults are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry