When to get another dog and what is the best way to clean up after Parvo?

Our question this week was:

I had a dog that died of parvo a few weeks ago. When is it safe to get another dog?


Julie H. – Brason, MO


Hi – thanks for your email. Parvo, short for parvoviral enteritis is a common condition in dogs. It is most common in unvaccinated puppies. The virus is very contagious to susceptible dogs. It is spread through infected feces. The virus is extremely resistant to many disinfectants. Reports suggest that parvo can live in the environment from 7 or 8 months to 2 years.

As far as when is it safe to get another dog…that is a good but difficult question to answer. If the environment is cleaned up and eliminated of the parvovirus – then you can get another dog any time. If the environment is NOT cleaned and you bring in a young puppy – the chance exists that he could contract parvo.

The recommendation for cleaning areas possibly contaminated with parvovirus include diluted bleach (diluted to 1 part bleach to 20 parts water) and quaternary ammonium disinfectants (such as Roccal-D, Parvosol, and others).

I'd recommended cleaning up the yard VERY well from any feces and disinfecting whatever you can in the house with the bleach solution described above.

I'd also make sure your new dog is well vaccinated. See this protocol for the recommendations – Puppy Vaccine Recommendations

Parvo is most common in young dogs – under 8 months of age. You could also consider adopting an older dog that is already done with his vaccines (6 months old) or an adult dog that has established immunity.

An article that might be helpful to you is Parvoviral Enteritis (Parvo) in dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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