In recent times many people incorrectly believed that pets can transmit COVID-19 to humans, and sadly many shelters have ended up overwhelmed with abandoned animals as a result.
The very short answer is: NO, there is no evidence of transmission from pets to humans.
The longer answer is that there are many viruses in the ‘corona’ family, often only mild in effect. Some variations can cause illness in humans, and others in animals. Some variations of coronaviruses can affect animals and spread to humans though this is rare. Dogs can contract their own variation of a coronavirus but this does not lead to COVID-19. (World Health Organization: “There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19.” )
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA note “We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to people…”. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html
The American Kennel Club website notes two pet dogs in Hong Kong that tested positive for COVID-19, however, officials believe this is a case of human-to-pet transmission. And the rapid spread of this virus is due solely to human-to-human contact. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/can-dogs-get-coronavirus/
The good news, according to The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, is “There is currently no evidence of transmission of the virus from domestic animals—either pets or livestock—to people.” https://www.agriculture.gov.au/coronavirus/animals
There is some evidence that the virus may be carried on the coat of a pet for a short period if an infected person has had direct contact, though it is considered a very low-risk possibility for transmission.
Some basic hygiene practices should apply for you and your dog to reduce this risk –
- wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before and after petting pets
- use hand sanitiser regularly
- do not share food with your pets
- keep pet possessions and living areas clean and disinfect regularly (use pet safe products)
- do not allow your pets to lick your face
- avoid sneezing or coughing on them
- avoid touching other people’s pets when walking
- prevent strangers from touching your dog unnecessarily
If you or someone in your home becomes infected with COVID-19, you should implement isolation immediately, including staying away from your pets, for the recommended period.
And in the event that you cannot care for your pet due to illness or isolation, make appropriate plans with a reputable boarding facility for the interim care of your pet. You can learn more about COVID-19 procedures at Dogdayz here.