COVID-19 Side Effects On The Dog Fancy

Pictured above: Dog show participants practice safety measures at the Mountain Laurel Cluster (July 2020). Photos provided by club members.

Network news has covered this disease from every angle except the devastating effect it has had on the only species that protects us and our social traditions.

Dogs have been by our side since before recorded time and even including our mates and offspring, dogs have always been our most incorruptible companion. Best friends, relatives, even children may desert us if we become psychotic, penniless, or terminally ill. Your dog could revert to his self-supporting instincts, but no, he will stay and try to comfort you.

Have you ever really thought about that? Sure, you knew that, but there is suddenly a new reality in our lives. No one is talking about it even though it is killing dogs.

Before we talk about COVID-19 or plagues of the past, think about this—a thief or con artist can charm his way right into your home, but he can’t con a guard-breed dog. Treats, distractions or threats will only raise the suspicion level and even your little Spaniel will say, “Wait a minute… this human is acting weird!” and with that, he will bark.

Okay, so you either own a dog or are temporarily deprived of canine comfort because quarantine prevents you from traveling to pick up your new puppy. We hope every breeder is as loyal to his or her dog as dogs are to people, but here’s an ugly fact…

There have been reports of dog breeders destroying litters because they can’t transport them to pet shops and professional “neighborhood” sellers. You didn’t know that?! Well, there’s more. Perhaps you planned to adopt from the local shelter. Someday. But right now you really need a huggable companion or subconsciously, something besides your family to take out your frustration on. The unbearable truth is that many shelters have euthanized remaining animals and shut down.

The shelters of today are less “humane” and generally more like profit-driven enterprises trafficking on our emotional need to love and be loved.

What about dog food when you can’t get to the store? Responsible dog breeders keep plenty of fresh or frozen meat and meat/poultry/fish-based kibble on hand. The best dog owners know that all canines need a balanced diet that includes what they would have in their natural environment. The dog, like wolves, coyotes, foxes, etc. is a carnivore. He eats meat not grain. Not grain.

Okay, I see you nodding, but I’ll bet you never thought about this—a carnivore’s natural prey eats grasses, fruits and berries. Not grain. From mice to moose, a carnivore’s table is set with prey that never tasted corn, wheat, or rice. Got it? Unless you are a hunter, nothing you can do about that, especially now.

But it is not too late to advise you to keep a freezer-full of meat, poultry, and green veggies. And you can always find room for plenty of canned mackerel, especially if you own a Northern breed.

And did I mention a backup generator…The COVID-19 shut-down should remind us of how vulnerable we are and how much we depend on modern conveniences.

Most major urban areas have back-up power for hospitals and emergency services, but probably not for your neighborhood. What are the odds you will lose power, sooner or later? Only you can answer that depending on your area and optimism.

I have ordered a solar-powered generator to keep my solar-powered hot water collector company.

Will COVID-19 be the last plague? We survived the Black Plague in Europe and here in America, smallpox in the 1600s, Yellow Fever in 1793, three bouts with Cholera in the 1800s, and Scarlet Fever in 1858. Then there was Typhoid Fever in 1906, Spanish Flu in 1918, and Diphtheria in the 1920s, but it took 30 years to finally vaccinate polio away in the mid-1950s.

AIDS-HIV hit Americans in the 1980s and lingers on… Measles killed nearly 10,000 over ten years before vaccines finally triumphed in the 1990s. In 2010, Whooping Cough (pertussis) was back and it hit California hard.

So COVID-19 in 2020 is not only new, but where and how it originated is a new concept. First, even though we’re told it was/is zoonotic, there are no reports of it affecting animals. Yes, dogs are vaccinated for Coronavirus, but this one is “different…” The puzzle is—if it was transmitted from bats in Wuhan, China, then it would have to be zoonotic, meaning it is contagious between animals and humans.

The “good news” is that so far that hasn’t happened. So no, you can’t get it from your dog, cat, horse, etc. The worrisome news is if COVID-19 is not zoonotic, then how did it get into Europe and America? Newscasters are beginning to suggest the obvious.

By mistake or malicious intent, it came from China and the effects are far-reaching.

So hug your dog, hunker down, pamper your immune system, and avoid side effects political or medical. 

  • Barbara “BJ” Andrews is the breeder of over 300 AKC Champions including over a dozen All-Time record holders. She is the author of 8 breed books and founder of 3 AKC Breed Clubs. In 1998 she launched the world’s first public website (TheDogPlace.org) followed by TheDogPress.com and TheJudgesPlace.com which, as part of the NetPlaces Network, serves all facets of dog ownership and exhibition. She and husband Bill pioneered the Akita, Miniature Bull Terrier, and Toy Fox Terrier to AKC recognition and BJ served on the board of each Parent Club. She has judged in England and AKC Specialty Sweeps. She was awarded UKC All Breeds approval but has never applied for an AKC judges license because it could interfere with objective reporting on the sport.

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