Can dogs catch Covid?

Pug dog
He’s feeling a little woof. (Picture: Getty)

Human’s best friend, dogs make the world a little better.

While the rate of infection may be at its lowest level since May and the vaccine rollout extends to 16 and 17-year-olds , the virus is still very much an ongoing concern, and our loyal canine companions might be suffering right along with us.

Do dogs get Covid-19, and can pets pass the virus to people?

Can dogs get Covid?

Research does suggest that dogs can catch SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Researchers from Utrecht University sent a mobile veterinary clinic to homes in the Netherlands that had recorded Covid-19 cases in the past 200 days.

Goldfish have a reputation as short-lived creatures, but given proper care, they can live as long as 30 years in captivity. The oldest captive goldfish ever recorded was won at a fair in 1956 and died in 1999 at age 43.

Golden Retriever and Ginger Cat on sofa
Unfortunately, you might have to avoid pet kisses and cuddles if you’ve caught Covid. (Picture: Getty)

Swabs were then taken from their pet cats and dogs to test for evidence of a current infection, while blood samples were also tested for antibodies – antibodies would suggest a past Covid-19 infection.

The results of this exam were presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and showed that:
  • 4.2% of animals tested had a current infection
  • 17.4% tested positive for antibodies

What symptoms can animals get?

My Family Vets state that symptoms of Covid in dogs can include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge

Most animals are creatures of habit. It will be important to develop a consistent schedule to follow with your new pet. Potty breaks at regular intervals, feeding at the same time(s) every day, playtime, walks – everything needs to be scheduled. At first, this can seem overwhelming but soon enough, you and your new pet will be on the same schedule.

Symptoms usually persist for 1-2 weeks.

What other animals can get Covid?

According to, there is evidence that the following species can catch Covid:
  • Big cats in captivity
  • Domestic cats
  • Dogs
  • Ferrets
  • Fruit bats
  • Mink
  • Non-human primates
  • Pangolins
  • Pigs (these are less prone to catching COVID-19)
  • Raccoon dogs
  • Rodents
  • White-tailed deer

Can pets pass Covid on to humans?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states, based on the information available to date, the risk of animals spreading Covid-19 to people is low.

The UK government’s advice for pet owners includes:

  • Washing your hands before and after any contact with your pet, its food or bedding – avoid hand sanitisers or wipes that may be harmful to animals
  • Not sharing food, food bowls or utensils with your pet

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There is also no evidence that you need to wash your pets more than usual to control the spread of Covid-19.

My Family Vets confirmed to that there’s no evidence that pets can transmit the disease from one human to another.

How to test a pet for Covid

There are different tests specific for dogs and other animals available, including the FASTest Canine Coronavirus (CCoV) Strip, a rapid immunochromatographic test for the detection of Canine Coronavirus Antigen in dog faeces.

The government advises anyone concerned about a pet because of respiratory or digestive problems and a temperature to contact a vet who will decide if it needs to be tested.

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INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Nearly 80 million U.S. households have a pet, and 42 percent of those households have more than one, according to a 2015-2016 survey by the APPA. There are 77.8 million pet dogs in the U.S. and 85.8 million pet cats.

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