What You Should Know About Your Pets, COVID-19, and Supporting Dog Immune Systems
Most of us consider our pets part of our families, so it makes sense that in the midst of this coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we have questions about our pets’ health too—starting with, can dogs get coronavirus? Should I be worried about my pet getting sick or needing quarantine?
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are issuing guidelines and FAQs for pets as well as humans. We will continue to monitor the situation and update accordingly. Currently, the most important things to know about your pets and COVID-19 are:
- The CDC has not received any reports of pet dogs, cats, or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19.
- The CDC states that there is currently no evidence and no known reason to believe that any animals—including pets—can spread COVID-19
- The CDC always recommends following everyday preventative and hygienic actions to help prevent the spread of illness, whether it’s the flu or COVID-19
If you do become sick with COVID-19, restrict your contact with animals just as you would with people. If you see any change in the health condition of your pets, seek the advice of your veterinarian. Most vet’s offices will take your questions over the phone before you decide to bring your animal in to be looked at. Practice good hygiene habits, including washing your hands after handling pets, as well as their food and supplies. And if you’re at home in quarantine or to practice social distancing, now’s the time to step up your cleaning and keep your environment clean.
Most importantly, there is no need to abandon your pets at this time—under no circumstances should pet parents abandon their pets because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our pets are not to blame and they need our care now, just as much as before.
How to Care for Your Pet During COVID-19
As you stock up on household supplies, plan to also stock up with a 2-month supply of your pets’ food and medications. Plan for an emergency caregiver—a neighbor, family member, friend, or boarding facility—in the event that you become unable to care for your pet.
Care at this time can also include caring for their immune health—which is always a good practice, in times of both sickness and health.
How to Support Your Dogs’ Immune Systems
Just like us, dogs’ gut microbiomes are an essential and major part of their immune systems—maintaining gut barrier integrity and fighting off allergens, toxins, viruses, and pathogenic bacteria. Dogs and cats also have essential microorganism populations on their skin, in their mouths, ears, noses, and respiratory tracts.
But—also like us—factors like age, environment, diet, stress, medications, and even well-intentioned pet and home care products can impact dogs’ internal and external microbiomes, throwing off the balance of microbes and allowing room for harmful microbes to take over and for disease to thrive.
In dogs, unbalanced, poor gut health can show up externally as well—in the form of yeast infections, ear infections, itchy, inflamed skin and paws, allergic reactions, and hot spots.
So how can you best help support dogs’ immune systems and digestive health? In a lot of the same ways we can support our own immune health.
Help Your Dog Get Ample Exercise & Daylight
There’s a saying, “A tired dog is a good dog,” and much like human kids, this tends to hold true for our dog kids as well. Muscle activity helps keep the rest of dogs’ bodily systems running smoothly, helps relieve stress—which has a negative effect on immune health—and helps them sleep well. Even better, get your dog outside for a daily walk and a dose of outdoor air. It’s good for both of you, and for now, you can still keep a safe social distance while walking your dog. Most city parks remain open if your dog wants to romp there—just remember to keep your safe distance from other humans, to avoid touching any public equipment, and to carry hand sanitizer with you.
Make Sure Your Dog is Getting Proper Nutrition
Just like us, dogs require a nutrient-dense, fiber-full diet that’s rich in antioxidants. Take care to make sure your dog’s food isn’t deficient in nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, and B-6, zinc, seleniu, inoeic acid, and lutein. There are plenty of fresh foods and vegetables that make delicious, healthy occasional snacks for dogs, including carrots, blueberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans and apples. Just hand them out in moderation and be careful to avoid foods dogs can’t eat—including avocado, cherries, grapes, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, and onions.
And of course, we’ve never known a dog to turn down a tasty meat snack—which can provide important nutrients like zinc as well as moisture for their diet.
Supplement with Probiotics
Again, like ours, dogs’ digestive systems contain a balance of good and bad microbes in them, called their microbiome. A well-designed canine probiotic can help balance your dog’s gut, improve digestion and relieve symptoms of digestive distress, and nourish and strengthen their natural immune defenses against inflammation, allergens, and disease.
Our Digestive Health for Dogs Probiotic uses live, probiotic cultures that are fermented and delivered in a liquid form to make them more bioavailable and easier for your dog’s body to absorb. And it meets all the same standards we use for our human-grade probiotics: all-natural and non-toxic, no fillers, colors, artificial flavors or preservatives, and free from all major dog food allergens: beef, chicken, dairy, soy, corn, wheat, eggs, beets, alfalfa, pork, rabbit, and fish.
We all want the best for our pets—they’re part of our families—so we do whatever it takes to keep them happy and healthy. The beauty of probiotics is that because beneficial microorganisms have such a profound impact on animal health, a few simple, targeted products can help your dogs and cats improve health issues within their digestive and immune systems, skin, coat, ears, and mouth. Healthy microbiomes lead to healthy pets, and healthy pets can enjoy the most out of their lives and share more moments with you.