Amid the global outbreak of novel coronavirus COVID-19, pet parents find themselves wondering if their furriest friends are at risk of catching the disease.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the short answer is no – your dog is safe from coronavirus. Their website states, “At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.”
Early reports out of China did suggest that a dog had tested “weak positive” for COVID-19 after nasal and oral swabs were taken. The dog had the showed some presence of the virus but was not presenting any symptoms of the disease. Despite that positive test, experts are adamant that pets cannot spread or transmit the disease.
However, that’s not to say that an infected human can’t touch or cough on a pet dog or cat, thereby spreading the virus—in the same way that they would spread it by touching a doorknob.
So, if you are sick, avoid touching your dog without first washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water, and always cough into your elbow or a disposable tissue to avoid the transfer of the virus to other people in the home via your pets.