With the postponement of London Dog Week and the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, we need to turn to the advice of the experts. Fortunately, London Dog Week’s Official Vet, Dr Stephanie Wenban, has provided some advice surrounding Coronavirus and your dog.
Can I pick up the virus through my dog?
There is no evidence that pets are a source of transmission to people.
However, we do know that humans are able to pass Covid-19 on to their dogs.
So far, there has only been one confirmed case of a dog showing no signs of illness, testing weakly positive for Covid-19 in Hong Kong. If you do become unwell, it is a good idea to practice good hygiene – washing hands regularly, avoiding kissing the dog and self-isolating.
Have there been any tests to confirm this?
There is no evidence to support dog to human transmission; possible animal sources of Covid-19 have not been confirmed.
What are the chances that other dogs will have the virus, like the dog found with traces of the virus in China?
The World Health Organisation has stated that there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new Coronavirus. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.
The significance of one positive dog within an entire population is still being researched, but it is known that so far, there have been no other dogs testing positive for Covid-19. At this point, testing in dogs has been more limited while resources are largely focused on humans, so we will know more of the exact figures in time.
What if someone in the family self isolates – how should they then respond to their own pets?
The risk of transmission between humans is from contact with droplets from an infected person – for example, when they cough or sneeze. These droplets can survive in the environment, and potentially on dog bowls or fur. So, it is best not to allow the dog to mix between infected and non-infected family members.
If isolating alone with your dog, ensure that you have enough supplies such as food and any medication your dog may need. Practice good hygiene, and if you are unable to walk your dog, try adding mental stimulation such as feeding puzzles or teaching them some new tricks, additional training and exercises at home.
Do you advise your pet to be stoked by other strangers/humans?
Research suggests Covid-19 may survive in the environment for up to 9 days, so it is best to maintain social distance with your dog from anyone experiencing symptoms such as coughing. If you are concerned, your dog may have come into contact with a symptomatic person, then be sure to practice good hygiene such as giving them a rinse and washing your hands. However, your dogs will give those self-isolating the extra emotional support and happiness they need during these challenging times.
The postponement of London Dog Week
Originally scheduled for 23 – 29 March 2020, London Dog Week (LDW) has been postponed until further notice due to the ongoing Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic.
The organisers along with partners including Kiehl’s, Eurotunnel, Atmosphere at Millbank Tower and The Serpentine’s Chucs Café believed delaying the event was within the best interests of the public. Taking the precautionary steps to safeguard vulnerable guests comes in light worldwide activities relating to the virus and what LDW believe will soon to be steps to ban large and mid-sized public events.
Whilst tickets sales for the second London Dog Week were selling well, and interest was growing, LDW Founder, Aneka Johnson says, ‘London Dog Week is about celebrating the therapeutic power of dogs and how they can help bring the community together, but the health and safety of guests is our top priority considering the circumstances. We want guests to truly enjoy the experience without feeling worried about how they could be infected. I think if possible, most events in the UK should follow suit until we can statistically stop worrying about the threat of the virus”.
During the 23 – 29 March, LDW will launch #Pawsitivity an uplifting online interactive event series on the LDW social channels, giving tips and advice on how to make the best of dog life at home when social distancing, championing dog brands, offer inspirational stories and how to stimulate your dog at home whilst self-isolating. Featuring Q & A sessions from canine experts including, London Dog Week Vet, Stephanie Wenban, a photocall to action encouraging dog and owner to share their pics in self-isolation together, and exclusive content.
LDW Founder, Lois Mallett Walker, says, “Whilst we are sad that this has to be postponed, we are really excited about the events we have lined up which is likely to be in the summer period. We think that our #Pawsitivity social campaign can really help raise people’s spirits in the meantime and cultivate a sense of togetherness whilst we are being asked to ‘socially distance’ ourselves”.
Hearing Dogs will be the official charity this year where all ticket sales or profits from commissions will contribute towards placing specially bred and trained dogs into homes for those affected by hearing loss from children to adults.
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