COVID-19 and pets: can my dog get covid?

From the first COVID outburst, pet owners have been worried about whether our dogs and cats can be in danger of catching it and getting sick. Many owners also wonder if pets can infect people or if we humans can infect our pets.
Even though the exact source of the outburst remains uncertain, there are conclusive studies of SARS-CoV-2 in pets that state this virus does not represent a danger for our pets.

Coronaviruses are multiple viruses: some of them can infect people and some, such as canine or feline coronavirus, can only infect animals. This is why if you check your dog or cat vaccination card, you will probably see a vaccine for Coronavirus.  This wasn’t a prediction:  It’s just that dogs are cats can suffer from Respiratory Canine Coronavirus (CRCoV) and Enteric Canine Coronavirus (CCoV), which are not the same virus as SARS-CoV-2.

Studies have shown that pets whose owners got COVID-19 were more likely to present antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. This means that if you get sick with covid, there is a big chance that you may infect your pets with the virus. However, it doesn’t work the other way around. If your pet gets infected, the possibility of infecting humans is very low.

At this point, there is no recorded cases of sick pets infecting people. 

Can my dog present COVID symptoms?

Don’t panic, there is no need to worry. Usually, dogs and cats who get COVID do not present severe symptoms. They tend to be asymptomatic and present mild, or no symptoms.  

Besides, dogs and cats in shelters have been tested and, even though some of them had antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, none of these pets have tested positive for COVID. This means the possibility of a dog or cat catching the virus outside their household is practically non-existent. 

There are conclusive studies of SARS-CoV-2 that state this virus does not represent a danger for our pets. They tend to be asymptomatic or present mild symptoms.

Taking care of your dog

As we’ve mentioned before, if you get sick with COVID, it is possible for you to infect your pet. And though pets usually are asymptomatic, it’s always better to avoid contact with the virus.

If you present symptoms of COVID:

  • If possible, arrange with someone else to take care of your pet during your period of illness.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, don’t kiss him and don’t let him lick you either.
  • When feeding your pet, use a facial mask to reduce the possibility of infection.

Dogs to the rescue

When you think dogs can’t be more awesome, they go and help in a pandemic.

A recent French study has discovered that dogs can detect COVID-19 in people through their noses with a 91% accuracy. This means their level of precision is even higher than fast lateral flow tests, so dogs can be super helpful to screen COVID-19 in crowded places like airports or stadiums. Not only do they recognize the virus in people with symptoms, but also in asymptomatic patients.
Naturally, this early screening would later be confirmed by a PCR, but it’s a great start.

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