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.

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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

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Symptoms usually persist for 1-2 weeks.

What other animals can get Covid?

According to Gov.uk, 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

Americans love dogs! 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 million homes

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 Metro.co.uk 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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If your dog isn't feeling well, add some low-sodium chicken broth to the drinking water.

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