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Protect your dog from Covid by following these steps

A dog in the UK has tested positive for coronavirus in what is the first confirmed canine case in the UK.

The news comes as an unwelcome revelation for pet owners as understanding of the virus continues to improve.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has stressed that cases of Covid in dogs is very rare, with it thought to be highly unlikely your pets could pass the disease on to you. And, no strong evidence currently exists suggesting it is possible.

Despite this, dog owners and people who work with animals are advised to wash their hands regularly. This is partly due to animals' fur acting like any other surface that could have the disease on it.

It is also not recommended that owners share any food or utensils with their pets, and ensure they wash their hands after touching its bedding or food bowl.

As well as dogs, the advice says that there is evidence coronavirus can also be caught by big cats in captivity, domestic cats, ferrets, fruit bats, mink, non-human primates, pangolins, pigs, raccoon dogs, rodents and white-tailed deer.

Can you protect your pets from getting Covid?

While it may be harder to protect your dog from Covid than it would be a human, there are a number of things you can do to help minimise their exposure to the virus.

The American medical body, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), have given further advise for owners worried about their pet getting coronavirus.

They say: "Pet owners and every eligible person in the household should get vaccinated." However, he adds that people infected by the virus should not have contact with pets.

The experts also claims: "Pet owners should not allow pets to have contact with un-vaccinated people outside the household, if possible."

They also advise pet owners not to put masks on pets, with this having the capacity to harm them.

While you are sick, CDC recommends that you: "Avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food, and sleeping in the same bed."

What are the symptoms for Covid with dogs and other animals?

The CDC says pets that have contracted the virus could exhibit any of the following symptoms: Fever, Coughing, Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, Lethargy (unusual laziness or sluggish) Sneezing, Runny nose, Eye discharge, Vomiting, Diarrhea.

British government advice says: "If you’re concerned about your pet because it has respiratory or digestive problems and a temperature, you should contact your vet who will decide if it needs to be tested."

The advice says that the symptoms for dogs are often mild, with recovery expected within a few days.

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