If you have a Shihpoo and wonder how worried you should be about your puppy in the face of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it’s good to understand facts and fiction. Basing decisions on fear of the unknown will likely lead to poor choices.
Can Shihpoos contract and transmit novel coronavirus COVID-19?
While all mammals share some commonalities in their biology, including the possibility of contracting common viruses, there is no evidence or indication that Shihpoos may become ill due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Very Minimal Cause for Concern about Your Shihpoo and COVID-19
That said, there have been no studies or research yet to confirm dogs are not carrying this disease. However, one Pomeranian in Hong Kong reportedly was confirmed to have some antibodies that indicated he had contracted the COVID-19 (also known as SARS COV2). The transmission was likely from his owner, who had been confirmed to have the virus.
The World Organisation for Animal Health has reiterated the lack of any evidence that the COVID-19 is a risk to dogs’ health. Good hygiene, though, is always important with regard to contact between humans and their pets, and a pandemic like this should reinforce such habits.
If your Shihpoo is a kisser (i.e. licker), now is a good time to find other ways to show appreciation and affection. Furthermore, if you or someone in your household does contract COVID-19, please consider limiting close contact with your Shihpoo all together. This includes licking, cuddling and snuggling, sleeping together, rolling in play together on the floor. While no evidence suggests concern for transmission, no research has been done.
Since there is at least one case of human-to-dog transmission (though the dog had no signs of illness), and since humans and dogs can share some susceptibility to certain viruses (though most likely not COVID-19), until more is known, you should limit contact of your puppy’s saliva near your mouth, nose, and eyes. Washing your hands well after holding your puppy is also recommended.
Minimizing Health Risks for Yourself and Your Shihpoo
By practicing consistent and proper hygiene, you can minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 and any other disease from your Shihpoo. Here are a few Dos and Don’ts of healthy canine hygiene:
DO clean and disinfect food and water bowls, beds, and other items your Shihpoo touches since he or she may carry the virus ON his or her fur after cuddling or being petted by anyone who is infected.
DO NOT share germs with your Shihpoo that might pass between your puppy, other people, and you. Wash your hands immediately after handling your puppy and frequently throughout the day.
DO feed your puppy out of his or her bowl rather than sharing out of your hand. Sharing food you handle means you are likely to share germs. If you do, wash your hands immediately and thoroughly.
DO NOT be ashamed or afraid to contact your vet if your Shihpoo shows signs of illness. Remember, late winter and early spring are also times of normal flu viruses for humans and dogs. Do not worry that your veterinarian will think you are over-reacting if you believe your puppy is ill.
Quarantine and Your Shihpoo
If you or anyone in your home should be quarantined after being confirmed with COVID-19, you might wonder what you should do with your puppy. Although your Shihpoo will likely not contract COVID-19, let alone display any signs of the illness, you should consider exercising appropriate caution throughout the quarantine.
Do’s and Don’ts of Quarantine with Your Shihpoo
DO NOT take your puppy on walks around the neighborhood, to daycare, or to dog parks, just as others in the home should not be wandering through communities.
DO ensure your Shihpoo gets plenty of exercise during quarantine, including back yard playtime and indoor activities.
DO NOT neglect your Shihpoo during quarantine. If you are unable to care for your puppy, contact a friend, family member, or neighbor (especially if they have already had COVID-19) about watching your dog for a few days.
DO ensure you have enough dog food on hand in case of quarantine. This does not mean you should buy four massive bags of food or empty the pet store’s shelves. Just be sure to have a bag that will last a couple of weeks, “just in case.”
DO NOT feed your Shihpoo human food as the primary source of nutrition. Dogs need a very different diet than humans, regardless of whether it is organic, raw, or some other form. Keep your puppy fed and healthy during quarantine.
DO keep your puppy hydrated. Like humans, Shihpoos need plenty of hydration for optimal health and illness prevention.
DO NOT allow your Shihpoo to visit a quarantined family member. Your puppy can transmit the virus in the same way a handshake can transmit the virus.
DO NOT take your puppy to visit others if you or a family member have had symptoms of illness. While your Shihpoo is unlikely to carry COVID-19, she or he might carry the virus on her or his coat just as you might after shaking hands with someone who is infected.
DO NOT sleep with your Shihpoo, especially if she or he tends to get in your face and lick you. Don’t fear the crate, because dogs naturally take to sleeping in small spaces as a carryover from their wolf ancestors seeking shelter and safety in small dens.
Can Shihpoos transmit diseases to humans? Although uncommon, dogs can negatively affect the health of their humans, including causing minor skin irritations and diseases that affect the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, the kidneys, and other vital organs.
What diseases can you get from contact with your Shihpoo’s saliva and body parts? It is rare but Shihpoos (like all dogs) can transmit to their humans diseases that include Brucella, Cryptosporidium, Tapeworm, Echinococcus, Giardia duodenalis, Hookworm, MRSA, Rabies, Ringworm, Roundworm, Salmonella, and Tickborne diseases.