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Coronavirus in Dogs: Is My Pup Safe? Is Their Food Safe?

Coronavirus in Dogs: Is My Pup Safe? Is Their Food Safe?

. 5 min read

At Ollie, the health and wellness of pups and their parents are our first and foremost priority. We do our best to educate ourselves on an ongoing basis — on small things like dog park etiquette to more serious issues like COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on our global community.

We believe your safety is better served by the facts rather than alarmist, reactionary content. So we’re here to address the questions you might be asking as a pup parent and shed light on what precautions we’re taking as a business, as well as ones you can take at home.

What is coronavirus?

First, it’s important to understand what we know about coronaviruses and COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.”

COVID-19 was discovered after an outbreak that began in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have the first recorded case of COVID-19 in the US showing up on January 21, 2020.

Because this is a newly discovered virus, the current understanding of how it spreads is based on knowledge of other coronaviruses. As of now, it is believed to be spread from person to person via respiratory droplets that are formed when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the eyes, mouth, or nose of another person or be inhaled into the lungs.

People are believed to be the most at risk to contracting COVID-19 when exposed to those who are actively expressing symptoms or someone who has recently traveled to a known affected area. Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu, which include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and vomiting.

Precautions to take to prevent coronaviruses

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Don’t travel or go to work when you’re sick
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap
  • Use hand sanitizers containing 60%-90% alcohol to kill bacteria
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Use a disinfectant on objects that many people frequently use or touch like doorknobs, keyboards, and telephones
  • If you have symptoms consistent with Coronavirus or COVID-19 specifically contact your doctor
  • If you are sick, you can wear a face mask. The CDC doesn't require that the general public wear face masks.
  • Follow the CDC, WHO and credible medical sources for updates on the outbreak as more information is available, recommendations in this article may change as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

    Can my dog get COVID-19?

    It seems highly unlikely. The CDC says “While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China. There is no reason to think that any animals, including pets in the United States, might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can be infected with or spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.”

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    Can my dog get other Coronaviruses?

    Yes. According to Dr. Ernst Ward, Coronavirus disease is a highly infectious intestinal infection in dogs, especially puppies. Coronavirus is usually short-lived, but may cause considerable abdominal discomfort for a few days in infected dogs. The cause is a virus of the Coronaviridae family. The virus gets its name from the fact that when viewed from above under an electron microscope, the virus has a ring of projections that appear like a coronet, or a small crown made of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. Different coronaviruses cause infections in many species of animals and birds. Canine coronavirus does not affect people.”

    “This coronavirus is caused by oral contact with infected fecal matter, contact with infected dogs, or eating out of contaminated food bowls. These conditions are usually present when dogs live in unsanitary conditions or are overcrowded.”

    There is no treatment for this type of coronavirus, it usually runs its course in a day or two. If your dog is vomiting, try to withhold food for a few hours and then reintroduce a bland diet — Ollie’s chicken recipe is a safe, gentle option for sensitive stomachs that have been through digestive strife. If the vomiting has not resolved itself in 24 hours or is accompanied by other symptoms contact your dog’s vet for treatment.

    There is a vaccine available for canine coronavirus, but it is not a core vaccine nor is it recommended for all dogs. Talk to your vet about the vaccine as it is only administered to dogs who are at risk and may be quite expensive.

    Is my dog’s food still safe?

    According to the FDA, there is currently no evidence that suggests COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. Early research indicates that viral particles are only able to survive a few hours. Your Puptainer, lid, and scoop are safe to use, but as with all good hygiene practices, we recommend washing it regularly for the safety of you and your pup.

    What is Ollie doing about this outbreak?

    Safety for our pup parents and employees is top of mind as we create a plan under the guidance of the CDC and other health authorities.

    Reinforcing best health and safety practices

    The Ollie team is taking this as an opportunity to double down on hygiene practices, providing on-site training and vaccinations, when available.

    Promoting wellness in our employees

    In our kitchen, fulfillment centers, and our NYC headquarters, we encourage all employees to follow the necessary precautions outlined by the CDC — washing hands regularly, maintaining a clean work environment, which includes thorough wipe downs with antibacterial wipes, and staying home when sick.

    Maintaining flexibility

    From suppliers to work-day schedules, we are remaining swift and nimble as new information surfaces about coronavirus. Whether this means creating a B, C, or D plan, our aim is to keep our employees safe and our customers satisfied.

    Staying informed and up-to-date

    Since there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding COVID-19, we are erring on the side of caution and preparing as best as we can for whatever comes next. This means keeping our ears to the ground and staying consistent with recommendations made by government and medical officials.

    We will continue to update this article should there be any new developments, and we encourage you to speak with your veterinarian or physician about any major concerns you might have.

    The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.