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Coronavirus in dogs and cats: are pets at risk from COVID-19?

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has caused lots of devastation, and as the number of UK cases continues to rise, it’s only natural to be concerned for our health.

But what about our pets?

Is my pet at risk from coronavirus?

Amid all the speculation and rumours, there’s currently very little evidence to suggest that pets can be infected with COVID-19.

Likewise, there’s no evidence that pets can transmit the disease from one human to another.

What about the dog in Hong Kong that tested positive for COVID-19? 

There were concerns after the dog in Hong Kong tested positive, and rightfully so, but it's not as terrifying as it first seems.

The dog tested 'weak positive' and was suffering from a low level infection. However, thousands of dogs and cats have been tested by one of the world's leading veterinary firms, and not a single case of COVID-19 has been found. 

I don’t feel well – should I avoid contact with my pet?

You don’t need to isolate yourself from them altogether, but if you’re aware that you’re ill, it’s a good idea to keep physical contact to a minimum. Just because COVID-19 has not yet been known to affect pets, it doesn’t mean that other illnesses can’t spread from owners to pets, so it’s best to be on the safe side.

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The current situation is changing very quickly, and it’s unknown what scientists will discover next about the virus. With this in mind, aim to exercise good hygiene at all times – for both yourself and your pets.

  • Wash their paws thoroughly after a walk
  • Clean their bedding and food bowl regularly
  • Don’t let them lick your face
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after cleaning or picking up after your pet

I’m concerned that I/my pet has come into contact with coronavirus. What should I do?

If your pet displays any symptoms of illness, contact your vet as soon as possible. If you suspect that coming into contact with someone suffering from coronavirus is the cause of their illness, be sure to let your practice know before you arrive.

If you feel unwell yourself, and have reason to believe that coronavirus is the cause, consult a medical professional right away.

Coronavirus symptoms in dogs

COVID-19 is not a threat to dogs, but dogs can contract certain types of coronaviruses. There are many forms of coronavirus that can cause different diseases in different species, including Canine Respiratory Coronavirus in dogs.

Symptoms can include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge

Symptoms usually persist for 1-2 weeks. If you're concerned, contact your local vet. 

How else can I keep my pet safe?

Along with practising good hygiene and doing everything you can to keep your pet healthy, stay aware and vigilant.

The situation is evolving quickly as scientists attempt to understand and solve it. Keep your eyes peeled for safety advice whenever you can, and if you have any concerns about your pet’s welfare, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.