Prevention

Prevention

Canine Parvovirus is able to survive in the environment, even in some of the most severe weather conditions.  It can live through freezing temperatures outside, it is immune to many household cleaners, and even shaded areas can keep the virus alive. Keep your dog healthy and Parvo-free with these prevention tips, and prevent other dogs from becoming infected if your animal has had the virus.  Overall, the best treatment for Parvo is prevention, and you can help save your dog’s life and potentially other dogs by simply getting your animal vaccinated and taking the necessary precautions to ensure that your home is Parvo free.

Vaccinations

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from catching Parvo is through vaccination.  Veterinarians recommend that puppies are vaccinated at 6-8 weeks old, and then they are given at least two more rounds of shots at 3-4 week intervals.  Adult dogs that have never received a Parvo vaccine will typically receive two vaccinations with a three week period in between the first and second shots.  A vaccination is then administered once every three years for the rest of the dog’s life. A vaccinated dog’s white blood cells produce antibodies to the disease, and greatly decrease his or her risk of becoming infected. After a dog is vaccinated, a veterinarian can draw his or her blood to measure the level of Parvo antibodies to determine if it has worked or not (Petwave).

Supplements

In addition to vaccines, a good prevention method is the use of probiotics to promote good bacteria in the gut.  Probiotics aid in digestion, can fight off bacteria and viruses that cause illness, and are full of vitamins and nutrients. They also have many other additional health benefits, including preventing urinary tract infections, decreasing allergies, and reducing inflammation.  Probiotics are typically recommended by veterinarians for dogs with frequent diarrhea and stomach trouble.

Here are a few of our top picks for natural, at home supplements.  Be sure to read the ingredients of each product, as some have warnings not to use in combination with other herbal supplements.

Isolation

Do not take a dog that has not been vaccinated to dog parks, pet stores, or to other places where many dogs are confined in one area.  If a dog that has Parvo has ever defecated in one of these areas, the virus can remain in the environment for months or even years if it has not been properly cleaned and sanitized.  Soil can harbor the virus, and the disease can be carried away from the initial site on shoes and carried to other areas in the vicinity.

Environmental Factors

Unfortunately, the environment does little to kill Parvo.  The virus is able to survive in freezing temperatures outside, and if a dog excretes waste containing Parvo in the snow, you must wait for the snow to melt before it is safe for dogs again.  Areas covered by the shade can remain contaminated for up to 7 months, and areas in direct sunlight are typically cleared up after 5 months. Dirt and grass cannot be completely disinfected, but using a bleach and water mixture can greatly help.  Sunlight has some drying effect, but it will not completely kill the disease (Nandi and Kumar, 2010).

Cleaning After An Infected Dog

Whether you our housing a dog with Parvovirus in an animal shelter or in your own home, if your dog currently has or is recovering from the virus, it is very important to disinfect and clean the area thoroughly to rid the infection and prevent other dogs from catching the virus. It is important to note that cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing. Cleaning does not kill pathogens, but can remove or reduce the number of them in an area.  Disinfection is the step after cleaning, and kills the pathogens that were not removed during cleaning.

Make sure that all animal shelter staff, volunteers, or those in your own home understand the importance of cleaning and disinfecting.  Not all products are parvocidal, so make sure that use a cleaning agent that will kill the virus. Prepare a solution of 1 part bleach to 32 parts water to make an animal-safe, yet effective solution to be used anywhere bleach is mentioned below.  You must wash spaces with water before bleach, as organic matter such as dirt, grass, feces, etc. can inactivate the bleach.

Fabrics

Wash all fabrics that your dog has touched with bleach, including blankets, rugs, bedding, towels, etc.  If the laundry is colored and cannot be bleached, it will unfortunately have to be thrown out to prevent contamination.  Keep dirty and clean laundry clearly separated with no contact between the two piles.

Flooring

Before cleaning non-porous or hard-wood flooring, test a small, less visible area first so you know what to expect after the treatment.  Disinfect the floors with the bleach and water mixture, and clean the floors several times to ensure that all of the virus has been killed.

Hard Surfaces

Use the same diluted bleach and water mixture or a pre-mixed solution to wipe down counters, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and other non-porous household items.

Outdoors

Remove all feces from your yard and dispose of the bags.  Spray each area where the feces was deposited with the diluted bleach and water mixture.  Unfortunately, the bleach solution will kill any plants or grass that it comes into contact with, however, bleach is the only disinfectant that can guarantee that the virus will be killed.

Pets and Bleach

It is important to note that bleach can be poisonous to some dogs and cats, so it is very important that you do not use an ultra-concentrated bleach, but rather a household bleach.  A household bleach is more of an irritant and not a corrosive agent.  Household bleach has a pH level around 11, while ultra-concentrated is generally closer to 12 or 12.5 and is mostly used by professional cleaners.  Most bleach poisoning cases in pets happen from a spill that you are unaware of.  The dog or cat will walk into the spill and then lick his or her paws, therefore ingesting the bleach.  That being said, it is so important to make sure you watch for spills, and do not walk away from the bucket of bleach.  While you are cleaning, keep your pet isolated in another room until the bleach has dried.

cleaning with bleach

It can be helpful to retrace your dog’s steps in order to determine where the initial exposure took place, and if your dog has contaminated other areas. Keep in mind, recovered animals can continue to excrete Parvo in their waste for several weeks. Keep disinfecting areas with bleach where your dog has gone to the bathroom in order to protect other animals from contracting the disease.

In addition to cleaning up after your pet, it is also important to clean and disinfect areas that you yourself have touched. The disease can be transferred from your hands and shoes, just as easily as it is transferred from your dog.  We suggest the products KennelSol Bleach, ProVetLogic Pet Spray, or Performacide for disinfecting and sanitizing hard surfaces.

TOP 5 FAQ

Which vaccine prevents Parvo?

The typical vaccine combination is Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospira, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHLPP).  The first shot is given to a puppy as young as six weeks old, and is then administered in two to four week intervals.  There are typically three shots total, and then a booster shot is administered one year later and then again every three years.

Will bleach kill Parvo in the yard?

Bleach is the best disinfectant known to kill Parvo in and outside of your home.  Dilute bleach with water and use a spray bottle to dispense the solution in your yard.  Spray your grass, dirt, and plants in order to ensure that you kill the disease everywhere.

When is Parvo season?

Parvovirus can be contracted at any time of the year, however it is more common to be passed around in the Spring.  After the snow melts and the cold temperatures warm up, more dogs are out for walks and are playing at the dog park, which means there are more opportunities for the disease to spread.  While Parvo can survive cold temperatures, it thrives in temperate climates.

Can Parvo be spread to humans?

Canine Parvovirus cannot be spread to humans.  There are different strains of Parvo and each are species-specific.  Humans can contract Parvovirus B19 from other humans, which has totally different symptoms and treatments.

Are Parvo shots necessary?

YES!  The Parvo vaccine is the best prevention method.

OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do you treat Parvo at home?

After your dog comes home from the animal hospital, it is important to follow your vet’s recommended diet and medication regimen.  Keep your dog warm and rested, and continue to monitor your dog during recovery.  For more information, check out our Treatment page.

How long will Parvo stay in the ground?

The virus can stay in the ground anywhere from six months to a year.

Are booster Parvo shots yearly?

After your dog finishes the complete vaccination series, a booster shot is typically administered one year later and then again every three years.

When does the Parvo vaccine become effective?

After your dog has received the full round of shots, he or she has the best chance of being protected from the virus.  If your dog has not completed the series, keep him or her away from other dogs as the vaccine will not be fully effective yet.

Will Lysol kill Parvo?

Lysol is NOT effective against Parvovirus.  Bleach is the best option for cleaning your home after an infected dog has contaminated your house with the virus.