Can pets catch Covid?

Cat and dog
Are these furry friends at risk? (Picture: Getty)
The UK is a nation of animal lovers , and so it is only natural that many are concerned that our beloved pets could catch Covid-19.

Some experts have been calling for cats and dogs to receive the vaccine for over a year.

So can our furry friends contract the disease, and what are the symptoms to look out for?

Here is all you need to know.

Can pets catch Covid?


Research suggests that Covid-19 is possible in cats and dogs whose owners have the disease.

Sick dog
Yes, dogs can get Covid-19 (Picture: Getty)

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In the June 2021 study, Utrecht University found that out of 310 swabs they took of pets from households with Covid-19, 4.2% tested positive for the virus. However, the Dutch researchers assured that most pets are asymptomatic, or have very mild symptoms. My Family Vets told that symptoms of Covid-19 in dogs can include:
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
Symptoms usually persist for 1-2 weeks.


Cat getting checked by a vet
Cats are suseptable to the disease (Picture: Getty)
As mentioned above, the Utrecht University found that cats can also get the virus – however, at a rate slightly lower than dogs. A study run by the University of Guelph in Canada found cats that slept on their owner’s bed seemed to be at particular risk of infection.

Be Diligent about Vet Visits. “Don’t wait for the signs,” Dr. Becker stresses. Focus on “prevention first.” Pets age fast, and when it comes to illness they are programmed to mask weakness, “they’re naturally secretive.” One to two visits a year is ideal, but if you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate, and don’t self-diagnose. “In the last two years I’ve seen four or five cases where people went to the internet for help, and by the time they get to the vet it’s too late,” says Dr. Becker.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), potential signs of Covid-19 in cats include:

  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Runny nose
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Diarrhea or vomiting


hamster in his cage
Marshmallow the hamster plays in his cage one last time before officials take him away (Picture: BERTHA WANG/AFP via Getty Images)

It looks like these teeny tiny rodents can indeed contract the disease.

In January, Hong Kong ordered a mass cull of 2,000 hamsters that were exposed to the virus.

Hundreds of samples were collected from animals at a pet shop that had an outbreak, including rabbits and chinchillas, but interestingly only the hamsters had traces of Covid-19.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Stray dogs in Russia have learned how to ride the complex subway system, and get off at specific stops in search of food.

There has not been enough research into hamster coronavirus to find common symptoms, but likely you should look for a high temperature and lethargy.

A study found that Roborobski Dwarf hamsters can actually die from Covid-19, whereas Syrian hamsters were less vulnerable to developing severe cases.


sleepy ferret
Ferrets can catch Covid-19 (Picture: Getty)
It is very well documented that minks can catch coronavirus, with Denmark having to cull 17 million of them in 2020 , but what about their domesticated counterparts?

It turns out that yes, ferrets can very well get Covid-19. In facts, all members of the mustelinae family are suseptable to the disease.

laidback pet breeds

Vet Help Direct lists ferret Covid-19 symptoms as the following:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Mild respiratory and digestive disease
The government website states that you should isolate your ferret for 21 days if you or your household are self-isolating, or if you’ve brought your ferret to England from outside the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

Isolation means you should prevent contact between your ferret and ferrets or people from other households.

What other animals can get Covid?

According to the government website, there is evidence that the following species can catch Covid-19:

  • Big cats in captivity
  • Domestic cats
  • Dogs
  • Ferrets
  • Fruit bats
  • Mink
  • Non-human primates
  • Pangolins
  • Pigs
  • Raccoon dogs
  • Rodents
  • White-tailed deer

Can pets pass Covid on to humans?

Why do they do that? When dogs kick after going to the bathroom, they are using the scent glands on their paws to further mark their territory.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has assured that 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
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 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.

Get Rid of Skunk Smell with Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda. Did your dog get skunked? You can get rid of that nasty skunk smell from your dog using some soap, peroxide & baking soda.

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