Mask Mandate For Dogs


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I saw a dog with a mask – no, no, no! The mandate is that dogs and masks do not go together.

If the pet parent was trying to be funny, it’s not. If she was truly concerned about her Boston Terrier getting the Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome-2 (SARS virus) that causes COVID-19, dogs are not picking up the virus in the air or from other dogs. As far as we know, only a small handful of dogs worldwide have contracted the virus. And on the very few occasions that this occurs, the dog is infected by a human family member. Regarding reports of COVID infected dogs, only one of only a few positive dogs for COVID-19 in the world did die, and this was a very elderly Pomeranian with other health issues (The Hong Kong owner refused a necropsy to determine cause of death). In short, dogs don’t need masks for protection.

A surgical mask isn’t only uncomfortable for a dog to wear, it may cause difficulty breathing – particularly for a brachycephalic breed like a Boston Terrier. Brachycephalic dogs, which include Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, Pugs, Shih Tzu’s and many others have limited airways. And for any dog, a mask is uncomfortable (I realize it’s uncomfortable for most of us – but for dogs there’s no health benefit to wear one).

Here’s where masks can be downright dangerous to puppies and kittens: There are now reports of veterinarians in emergency surgery to save dogs who have ingested parts of masks, and cats who have swallowed elastic ties that go around the back of our heads to keep masks in place. Another mandate: Make certain your masks are out of pet reach.