Can dogs transmit coronavirus to people?

2 dogs looking up into the sky

With lockdown restrictions easing and more opportunities for people to interact with you and your dog, Dogs Trust has issued some advice on how to help limit the risk of coronavirus being spread to or from your pet.

It comes after a SAGE report to the government highlighted the risk that pets can carry the virus on their fur, and could potentially pass it on to others.

The charity advised owners that there is little risk of the disease being transmitted from a dog to them, but it’s worth taking some precautions, including:

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water for 20 seconds after touching your dog or any of their belongings.

  • As hard as it may be, avoid kissing your dog, and letting them kiss you.

  • Avoid contact with other people’s pets.

  • Ensure your dog does not come into contact with other people or dogs. If your dog is likely to go up to other people or dogs, you may need to keep them on a lead whilst out walking.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask people not to pet your dog.

  • If you’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have symptoms, limit physical contact with your dog as much as possible.

  • If your pet is sick or injured, call your vet ahead of time before going to the surgery.

  • If you do visit friends and family with your dog as part of a social bubble, remember to wash your hands and avoid visiting if you are unwell.

Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, stressed that there is no current evidence to suggest your dog poses any significant risk to your health. However, she added: “Although there are currently no confirmed instances of coronavirus being passed from dogs to people, just like human hands and any other surface it is possible for them to carry the virus on their fur, their collar and lead.

“To keep ourselves and others safe it is important that we all work together to follow government guidance and keep at least two metres apart from others when venturing outside. To avoid situations where your dog might approach and greet other people or dogs, this may mean walking your dog on a lead when in areas with other people.

“When caring for a dog it is important to remember that basic hygiene is key. This includes washing your hands before and after handling them, as well as avoiding kissing, being licked or sharing food. If you have tested positive for coronavirus we would recommend limiting physical contact with your dog as much as possible too — as hard as it may be.”

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