Parvovirus, often known as parvo, is a deadly disease that can affect puppies or other unvaccinated dogs. The vaccination against parvovirus is usually given in combination with the distemper vaccination.
While no vaccination is 100% protective, your puppy’s risk of catching parvovirus drastically declines once they have finished their vaccination series, usually by 16-18 weeks old.
It’s still incredibly important to socialize your puppy prior to their vaccinations being completed, as the socialization window closes by the time the puppy is 12-16 weeks old.
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior notes that the risk a puppy will be given to a shelter or die at a young age is higher due to behavior problems than infectious diseases, including parvovirus.
However, the risk of parvovirus is still very real, since parvovirus can live in the environment for years if the conditions are right. In this article, we will be exploring places that your puppy may catch parvovirus, so you can take care to keep your puppy healthy while socializing them.
Can a puppy get parvo from a cat?
No, your puppy will not get parvovirus from a cat. As cats and dogs are different and distinct species, there are many illnesses that will not spread between them. As long as your cat is an indoor cat, there is no risk of them spreading parvovirus to your dog.
The only way your cat could potentially bring parvovirus to your dog is if your cat is allowed to roam and happens to step in an area contaminated with parvovirus, and then your dog licks your cat upon their return.
While this is a highly unlikely scenario, it’s one of many reasons your cat should be an indoor cat. There are plenty of other health problems (and environmental destruction) that can come from cats that spend their time outside.
While your puppy won’t be catching parvovirus from your cat, the reverse isn’t true. There are documented cases of canine parvovirus being spread to cats, so it’s important to keep your puppy healthy.
There is a reported case of a cat and dog cross-species parvo infection, however, it is highly unlikely.
Are you interested in reading this: Can Unvaccinated Puppies Be Around Cats? (Yes or No)
Can a puppy get parvo from grass?
Yes, your puppy can get parvo from grass. While it’s not the grass itself that spreads the disease, if a dog infected with parvovirus has ever gone to the bathroom in that spot, the ground (including the grass) can contain the virus.
It’s also possible for a human to have spread parvovirus to an area of grass, on their shoes or clothes, after contact with an infected dog.
Your puppy may get parvovirus from licking or chewing on the grass itself, or just by walking through the area and then licking their feet.
Can a puppy get parvo from the vet?
Yes, your puppy can get parvovirus from the vet clinic. Dogs infected with parvovirus often need extensive medical care, including hospitalization, and your veterinarian as well as the clinic staff and equipment around the clinic will then be exposed to the virus.
However, your veterinarian is also an expert in canine health and diseases. At the first signs of parvovirus, many veterinarians quarantine the infected dog far away from other pets.
They also will be cleaning anywhere the dog with parvovirus has been with bleach, which is one of the few things that kills parvovirus.
While the risk at the vet clinic is minimal due to their knowledge and cleaning protocols, you can take extra precautions by carrying your puppy in the lobby, just in case a dog has tracked parvovirus through the area recently.
Can puppies get parvo from the beach?
Yes, your puppy can get parvo from the beach. Anywhere that an infected dog’s feces have been spread is a potentially contaminated place in the environment. In fact, parvovirus is known for living a long time in a dark and damp place, which can include many areas on the beach.
Sunshine and dry environments will help to kill the parvovirus, but the virus can still live for weeks in such an environment.
Can puppies get parvo from shoes?
Yes, your puppy can get parvovirus from shoes. Parvovirus is especially dangerous because it doesn’t have to spread directly from dog to dog. Instead, fecal matter from an infected dog can contaminate an environment, and then be transmitted to a puppy on the shoes of whoever walked through the area.
If you aren’t sure of the environment you’ve been walking through, or you were at a high risk area, such as a shelter environment, it’s best to take your shoes off before entering your home. You can also use bleach to clean the bottom of your shoes to keep your puppy safe.
Can puppies get parvo from vaccinated dogs?
The likelihood of your dog getting parvovirus from a vaccinated dog is low. While a vaccinated dog may spread parvovirus on their feet, if they’ve walked through a contaminated environment, they aren’t likely to get sick with the virus themselves and so the risk is low.
There is also some evidence that dogs that have been vaccinated for parvovirus may still shed small amounts of the virus in their fecal matter, although at a much lower volume than dogs actively infected with the disease.
However, after 4 weeks, the virus was no longer detected in any of the dog’s fecal matter. If you want to be extra safe, you can just make sure your puppy only plays with dogs who were vaccinated at least a month prior.
Can puppies get parvo from deer poop?
No, your puppy won’t get parvovirus from eating deer poop. As deer are a very different species from dogs, they do not get sick with canine parvovirus. You should still keep your dog from eating deer poop, though, since it can carry other diseases.
There’s also a possibility that your dog may contract parvovirus while eating deer poop, simply because the environment itself was contaminated by parvovirus previously.
Can puppies get parvo from humans?
Yes, your puppy can get parvovirus from humans. While we won’t become sick with parvovirus, we can accidentally spread parvovirus when our clothes, shoes, or hands are contaminated. This happens if we interact with an infected dog or if we walk through an area of the environment with parvovirus.
For this reason, it’s important to avoid interacting with dogs known to have parvovirus, or visiting places that may have had parvovirus in the past.
Washing your hands before playing with your puppy, as well as changing your shoes or clothes before interacting with your puppy, will also help cut down on the spread of parvovirus.
Can puppies get parvo from bird poop?
No, your puppy is not likely to get parvovirus from bird poop. Birds themselves will not become infected with parvovirus. Instead, the only way a bird is likely to spread parvovirus is by picking up the virus on their feet and then spreading it through the environment to your dog.
Can a puppy get parvo from eating his own poop?
No, your puppy is not likely to get parvovirus from eating their own poop. Parvovirus is spread through the fecal matter of infected dogs, so if your puppy has parvovirus in their feces, they are already infected with the disease.
Can a puppy get parvo from another puppy?
Yes, your puppy can get parvovirus from another puppy. If the puppy has parvovirus, it can absolutely spread directly from dog to dog. A puppy may also bring parvovirus to your house or yard via their feet if they’ve been in a contaminated environment.
However, puppy socialization is especially important. If you fail to properly socialize your puppy, you risk lifelong behavior problems.
For this reason, a safe puppy socialization class is the ideal place to take your puppy without risking parvovirus.
A puppy socialization class should require that puppies stay up to date on their vaccinations as the class progresses, and should only allow vaccinated adult dogs on the premises. Proper cleaning protocols should also be in place to kill any parvovirus in the environment.
In addition, the class should be taught with positive reinforcement methods by a qualified trainer, such as a Karen Pryor Academy graduate or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA).