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How to Kill Parvovirus in Your Dog's Environment

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

Parvo can survive even freezing temperatures.

Parvo can survive even freezing temperatures.

Why Parvo Immunization Is Important

Parvovirus: this potentially fatal virus, affecting young dogs and especially puppies, is hard to deal with, so protecting puppies from this disease by vaccinating them is extremely important.

Puppies as small as six weeks old can be vaccinated against Parvo every 3–4 weeks until they have completed the series up to when they are 14–18 weeks old.

It is important that owners realize that puppies are not fully immunized until a few weeks after they have completed the entire series.

Is Your Home or Yard Infected With Parvovirus?

If Parvo has already struck an area and owners are concerned about adding a second puppy to a home, many precautionary measures will need to be taken. Often owners lose a puppy to Parvo and then make the mistake of adopting another and exposing that puppy to the Parvovirus that is still present in the environment.

Facts About Parvo

  • Parvo may live in the environment for up to 7 months.
  • Parvovirus is a very hardy virus that thrives in homes and yards, even in freezing temperatures.
  • Parvo indeed is very resistant to household chemicals, which do not work to kill the virus.
  • The virus is shed in feces so all areas where feces were present are considered contaminated. The virus is shed in enormous amounts, just think that an ounce of stool from an infected dog may produce up to 35 million viral particles!
  • The virus can be easily transported by the dog's paws around the home, but also it may be found on the owner's shoes, clothes, etc. Even a car's tires can transport the virus if they were in contact with contaminated stool. So attempting to remove the Parvovirus from a dog's environment is a tough battle and it is almost impossible to fight because it could be virtually everywhere.
  • While there are products that can kill the virus it is a very difficult task to disinfect everything and everywhere.

How Long Does the Parvovirus Live?

According to Marvistavet: ''Indoors, the virus loses its infectivity within one month" while outdoors, freezing is completely protective to the virus. If the outdoors is contaminated and is frozen, one must wait for it to thaw out before safely introducing a new puppy. Shaded areas should be considered contaminated for seven months whereas areas with good sunlight exposure should be considered contaminated for five months.'' Of course, it never hurts to err on the side of caution and wait longer before adding a new puppy.

How to Clean Parvovirus From Your Home and Yard

So what should owners do if they have other puppies living in a Parvo-contaminated area? There is really not much more that can be done than picking up all the feces and disinfecting any possibly contaminated areas. The only product seemingly effective in killing the virus is bleach.

  1. Disinfection is accomplished by using bleach diluted with water in an exact ratio of 1:30, one part bleach to 30 parts water.
  2. To work, the bleach mixture should be left in contact with contaminated surfaces for at least 10 minutes.

Of course, if bleach is used on grass, the grass will die. Ultimately, this may be better than the alternative (exposing a puppy).

Of course, bleach cannot be used on couches or carpets, as it will ruin the fabric. For this reason, all bedding, bowls, blankets, and toys that may be contaminated by the virus are better off tossed.

How to Reduce Your Puppy's Exposure to Parvo

Puppies should not be introduced to homes where there is a history of Parvo until at least a month has passed or at least 7 months have passed for contaminated yards.

Avoiding the outdoors, where there may be feces contaminated with Parvo, is key. Disinfecting shoes, clothes, and anything coming from the outdoors is crucial. However, the virus can be found just about everywhere—at the dog park, at the vet's office waiting room, in yards, etc. Therefore, puppies should have limited exposure to other puppies and places frequented by puppies until they are fully vaccinated against Parvo.

The good news is that according to once a puppy is infected by Parvo, it is immune to the virus for at least 20 months and sometimes for life.

Other Ways to Prevent Parvovirus Exposure

While avoiding the Parvovirus may sound like an arduous task, being prepared for the worst would be savvy. Know how to recognize the symptoms of Parvo and report to your vet immediately should your puppy start exhibiting any of them. The faster the diagnosis, the better the prognosis.

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Read More From Pethelpful

It would be helpful to keep handy a special product produced by Amber Technology known as Parvaid. This product is a natural remedy with good reviews, especially when given at the first signs of Parvo.

Parvo is a very scary disease. Protecting your puppy from it may appear like a very arduous task. Focus on disinfecting the puppy's living quarters carefully if the home has a history of other dogs affected by Parvo and learn more about this disease. Knowledge is power and it is like winning already half the battle. Please be responsible and vaccinate your puppy against infectious disease.

Author's Note

This article is not to be used as a substitute for veterinary advice. Also, this article may not be up-to-date with the latest products and methods to eradicate parvo. If your puppy or dog has parvo consult with your vet and inquire about the latest products and techniques to kill the virus.

  • Parvaid Parvo Treatment Review
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  • Parvo Puppy Home Remedies
    Let me start off by saying that Parvo is a disease that needs not to be under estimated, it is highly contagious and very deadly. This article is for those that have already tried treatment at the vet's...

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: If a puppy gets parvo and survives, will he forever carry the virus?

Answer: Puppies who have contracted parvo will typically shed the virus for about two weeks after they stop showing symptoms; but since there may be some variability in this, it's best to consider them contagious for 4-6 weeks just to play it safe.

However, consider that the virus once shed can survive quite for a long time (several months for even up to a year or slightly more) therefore, it is important that feces are removed, and infected areas are sprayed down with a bleach solution as mentioned in the article.

Puppies who have contracted parvo will not remain carriers for life, but yes, they can shed the virus in the environment during the "shedding" period" and therefore once out there (unless removed by a bleach solution) it can survive for many months and pose a danger to other susceptible puppies.

Question: What cleaning products should I use to clean parvovirus?

Answer: Are you planning to add another dog to your home? The safest option is to get an older dog that is current on their vaccines. If you are planning to get another puppy, things may be risky if your home isn't properly disinfected. It's not worth the risk in my opinion.

Bleach is the standard product to kill parvo from hard surfaces like counters or floors. It's used in a ratio of 1 to 30 parts water. This solution may ruin carpets, couches, and upholstery. Steam cleaning may be needed for those surfaces.

The big problem though is that if you touched a sick pup there are risks that you may have had the virus on your hands and then you spread it to doorknobs, light switches, drawer handles, etc. Also if you stepped on stools with the virus, the virus could have been spread to other areas. It's close to impossible to clean every inch of the house that may be contaminated.

Question: What can I use on my furniture and carpet to kill the parvo virus?

Answer: According to Veterinary Partner, bleach diluted as one part bleach to 30 parts water should be used to clean bowls, floors, surfaces, toys, bedding, and anything potentially contaminated that is colorfast or that you do not mind potential color changes. Allow at least 10 minutes of contact to kill the virus. Steam cleaning the carpets/furniture with the solution will kill the virus, but it may bleach them. Things get tricky though as the virus can hide between carpet fibers if not soaked well. You can try calling several brands of parvocide products and asking whether their products are safe to use on carpet. If you are getting another puppy, risks are lowered if you get an older puppy (over 16 weeks) who has completed the vaccination series and then wait at least one month before introducing to your home. Things can get risky though if you have a yard that also needs to be disinfected.

Question: Can a child contract parvo from a dog?

Answer: Parvo fortunately cannot be transfered to humans-including children and even babies. The Parvo Virus found in dogs is strictly a disease that affects puppies and dogs. Now, children do get a form of parvo virus known as Parvo B19, that causes "Fifth disease" but it is a different condition from the dog parvo virus affecting dogs so they shouldn't be confused with one another.

Question: Can you feed a puppy bleach water to cure parvovirus?

Answer: It is very dangerous to feed bleach to dogs, even if watered down. Indeed, at the veterinary hospital I worked at, we saw several times dogs with severe gastric ulcers because these dogs managed to drink bleach water from a bucket and used to mop floors. In a high concentration, bleach can even kill a dog. On top of that, it won't treat the parvo. There is no treatment for parvo as it is a viral infection. All that can be done is provide supportive care with antibiotics by the vet and IV fluids.

Question: I have a full grown female pitbull that is having extreme diarrhea. She won't eat her food, but will drink Gatorade. I know the Gatorade will give her nutrients that were lost during excessive diarrhea. Could my dog have Parvo?

Answer: Parvo is not as common in adult dogs as it is in puppies. Is your dog's parvo vaccination up-to-date? Parvo is a core vaccine so if your dog is current on her vaccinations, most likely you have her covered (albeit some rare exceptions to the rule). If your dog has never been vaccinated for parvo before or she is not current, then that may be a different story.

Many more common issues can cause the symptoms you are seeing. For instance, dietary indiscretion, inflammatory bowel disease, a bacterial infection, giardia, coccidiosis, etc. I would suggest you see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment and don't forget to bring a stool sample to your vet.

Question: My neighbor's dog has parvo. What should we do to protect our puppy and dog?

Answer: If both of your dogs are current on their parvo vaccines (and the puppy has completed all his booster shots) and do not go to your neighbor's home/yard or play with any other dogs they might have, the chances of contracting the disease should be rather low. Parvo is not airborne and usually is transmitted from dog to dog when one dog ends up ingesting the virus through another dog's feces or the ground where the dog may have defecated in the past. Another risk is "fomites" things that can carry the virus around such as shoes that may have collected the sick dog's poop, mice walking from the neighbor's yard to yours, your dog licking their paws after walking in areas where the sick dog has defecated, etc. It is believed that parvo can live in yards for at least up to a year even once the feces of the sick dog are no longer visible. To be extra careful, you may wish to use a 10% dilute bleach solution to clean up any areas where your dogs are walked and where this sick dog may have walked. Also, I would avoid contact with the neighbor if your dogs aren't vaccinated though they are at risk for contagion especially the puppy. If any of your dogs are on steroids or undergoing chemotherapy, this can further lower their immunity, making them more at risk.

Question: Can you give the dog the parvo shot and will the parvo go away?

Answer: Unfortunately, no, the parvo won't go away. If your puppy is already showing symptoms of parvo, then vaccination at that point is not going to help. The reason for this is how the parvo vaccination works. It takes a series of vaccinations to trigger the immune response and even after completing the series, consider that it takes about 7 days for the vaccination to be effective. On top of this, veterinarians won't vaccinate a sick dog. Vaccines are labeled for use in “healthy dogs only.”

Question: Can cats carry the parvovirus?

Answer: No, cats do not carry parvo, no more than a person does, in the sense that cats do not get parvo and therefore cannot pass it directly. However, it may be possible for a cat to carry inside the home the virus on its feet or fur just as humans can bring it in on shoes and clothing.

Question: I plan to visit a litter of puppies, and have walked in parks where dogs have been. I'm not aware of any parvo outbreaks in the area, but should I try to disinfect my shoes before visiting?

Answer: A reputable breeder asks that shoes are left outside when visiting puppies so to prevent disease.

Question: I live in an apartment building and my neighbor's puppy died today from parvo. Should I be worried about taking my dog out to go potty, he's around three years old and he was an abandoned dog. I had him fixed microchip and some shots but can't remember if he got the parvo one should I be worried?

Answer: Parvo is a disease mostly affecting puppies. In general, most dogs who contract parvo are younger then 1 year of age though dogs older then one can still get the virus. Dogs that are around three years of age can become infected with parvo, especially if they have never had any vaccines to protect them against Parvo.

The good thing is that, if you are unsure whether your dog got vaccinated against parvo, you can give your vet a quick call and they should be able to tell you. When your dog was vaccinated, they keep it on record along with other info such as lot numbers, batch and when it expires. The parvo shot is a core vaccine and one of the most frequently given, most likely if your dog received shots it was included, but always best to check to play it safe.

Question: How do you prevent a dog from getting parvo?

Answer: By vaccinating your puppy and keeping your puppy safe from direct exposure (feces, dirt, contaminated surfaces) or indirect exposure (fomites like shoes, clothing, car tires) until he has completed the whole series of shots and the vet gives the OK (it takes several days for the last booster to take effect) to take the puppy in places where dogs tend to aggregate. Follow your vet's advice on how to prevent parvo in puppies.


Chrissy on August 31, 2020:

So I been helping my neighbors take care of there pups witch came down with parvo 2 weeks ago there on meds but Friday they will be ready to go to there forever homes if I take one will my 2 year old dog be ok and not catch it the pups r good there eating drinking and playing typical pup behavior I’m just worried about my dog I have now

Carrie on April 21, 2020:

When stating in an apartment and unable to bleach the house how long should o wait for another puppy as we prefer a puppy not a dog of 16weeks.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 06, 2020:

Hi Rene,

The incubation period for parvo, meaning the time it takes for the dog to contract it and show signs, is typically three to seven days for most dogs. So it can be possible this dog contracted it from the yard, although it would difficult to prove.

Rene Nelson on February 05, 2020:

We took in a stray dog and we found out it has parvo only been here for about five days three months ago we had a puppy die from parvo what are the chances that the stray could have caught the virus from our yard

Ba Harvey on October 23, 2019:

My puppy is thankfully just recovering from parvo. The essencial oil Frankinscence really helped. I put a drop on my wrist and he sniffed a bit. Or I left the bottle open for him to sniff if he wanted. Also coloidal silver 5 drops 3 times per day. Okinawa from the Health factory helped with the minerals. Happy healing to your doggie.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 08, 2019:

Yes, of course. Our vets vaccinated adult dogs all the time.

Jodi on August 05, 2019:

Can an adult dog get the parvo vaccine?

ajamalahmed on November 21, 2018:

I recently Lost My German Shepherd Puppie Due to Pravo Virus(according to Vet Doc.) Now im deciding to bought a new one but before that i want to ask some question.

In this Modern Technology world why there is now cure for that virus?

If the u bought the new pupp how can i check that the pupp is vaccinated well.?

is ther any vaccine who cure that virus?name of vaccine.

Nick waller on June 22, 2018:

My dog caught Parvo and survived I had to push pennicilen down his throat every 8hrs and shoot pedia light down his throat every 2-3 hrs and he survive his is 8 yrs old now and you gotta keep them away from other dogs or they will get it too it's about a 2wks process of consistency and no matter how small your dog get just keep the process up cause ducking with Parvo yo dog gonna get real thin just keep them hydrated and and pennicilen every 8hrs

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 25, 2018:

So sorry for your loss Kayla.

Kayla Newman on January 15, 2018:

My grandmas 4 month old docshound/ husky mix breed just died this morning at 6 am,Monday January 15 2018 she got up this morning after giving him 100 oz of saline/fluid last night he was playing and chasing cats Saturday and them he was all down in the dumps yesterday and today he died.........SADLY with NO warning we thought he would be fine since we were treating him just as the nurse had told us to....but I guess him not suffering anymore and him dying here at home was better than watching the veterinarians put him down straight in front of us......’s better now .... he’s in a better place now ..... he was sooooooo loved....he still is and soooo badly missed........ thank you sooooo much for reading this....bless you ALL❤️

carollynn on November 15, 2017:

a puppy died of parvo at my dogs dog is five years old and has been up to date on all his shots. is my dog safe there.

Jessica on September 23, 2017:

I just had my 9 week old puppy die from this awful disease. I only have her 6 days. I noticed when we got home that day she wasn't eating.

we thought it maybe cause she was upset from leaving her mother at the time she was still drinking water from her bowl.

the next day she still wasn't eating her food so I tried giving her some ham to eat and she ate it, so I thought she didn't like her food. So we gave her little bits at a time and she ate it up. we went to bed everything was fine. Monday morning she was drinking her water using her puppy pad and playing with the kids. I got my kids ready for school put her in her crate and took them to their bus stop. when i got back 15 mins later she was acting different she wasn't playful anymore. so i let her sleep. but then she wasn't drinking and and turned away from the food i offered her. I called the vet and they told me to give her water and give her 24 hrs to see if she gets better. So I started giving her water every hour. i messaged the people i got her from but they didn't answer me. I only left her to go get my kids off the bus. soon as my husband got home. we took her to our vets he said it was just a bug and gave me some medicine and gave her a iv to help hydrate her. i took her home and did what they told me i set an alarm to get up to water her. I would force her to eat some wet dog food they gave me. the next morning she wasn't doing any better so i called back and took her back in the vet then sent me to a er vet clinic where she was diagnosed with parvo. The people I got her from finally called me back then I told them they gave me a sick puppy and they told me the rest of the litter is fine. they are sorry for this but it wasn't from them. he then told me to give her Gatorade and pep-to. I bought some unflavored Pedialyte and gave her pep-to. and again I was up with her all night. then next morning she seemed to be getting a bit better her gums here pinker and she seem to be able to stand.