CORONA Virus and Service Animals and Therapy Dogs
Although transmission of coronavirus to animals is rare, it has been documented in a few cases, and if you use a service animal, you’ll want to be sure you are keeping your animal and yourself safe.
- Service animals may be used in a public venue, so when possible, follow social distancing protocol like you would for yourself, and keep your dog six feet from other people.
- If you dog appears sick, contact your veterinarian and don’t take him/her out.
- It’s probably best to avoid hospitals, nursing homes, and other public places where the virus is strong.
- Wear a mask, either a cloth or a surgical mask when you out, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
- Do not put masks on your dog! Covering an animal’s face can harm them.
- Keep your animal’s equipment clean. Disinfect collars, vests, leashes and harnesses.
- Do not use chemical disinfectants on your service animal. Use only products approved for animal use. There is no evidence at this point that the virus might spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets.
- This is a good time to postpone therapy dog visits to the hospital. Not only do you not want to infect your dog, but you don’t want to carry the virus room to room either.
- Before and after each contact, the handler and anyone petting or in contact of any sort with the dog should wash their hands.
- Do not let other people handle items that go into your dog’s mouth, such as toys or treats.
- Disinfect toys, collars, leashes, harnesses, therapy vests, and food/water bowls frequently.
- Do not allow therapy dogs to give kisses to anyone.