People are understandably worried as to whether or not their dogs and cats can get coronavirus and get sick and also whether they can get coronavirus and transmit that to other humans and pets.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare.”

So what are the facts about coronavirus and can dogs get infected?

While it is known that dogs can contract other forms of coronaviruses with the most commonly known one being the canine respiratory coronavirus. COVID-19 however is a specific and novel coronavirus and it is not believed to be a health threat to dogs even though dogs have tested positive to the virus. Like in humans that can be infected but show no signs or negative symptoms – this is the likely case in dogs.

  • A pug named Winston who was believed to have tested positive for COVID-19 was later concluded to not be the case. Of note human family members were tested positively for COVID-19.
  • In Hong Kong two dogs living in a home with COVID-19 positive owners did test positive. Again neither dog showed any symptoms.

In terms of getting infected from a dog the World Health Organization states, “There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19”

Further testing by Hong Kong authorities has found infection in dogs to be infrequent and they have concluded that these findings indicate that dogs and cats are not infected easily with this virus, and there is no evidence that they play a role in the spread of the virus.

Can cats contract COVID-19?

  • It is known that several cats have tested positive for COVID-19 with some displaying mild respiratory symptoms.
  • In almost all cases the cats who tested positive lived with individuals who had tested positive themselves.

It was also well publicized in the media that Nadia, a 4 year old Malayan tigress at New York’s Bronx Zoo was the first known case of COVID-19 in an animal in the United States. Since then as many as eight big cats have been confirmed to test positive. The transmission to the cats is believed to have been from a staff member and there is no evidence of infection from cats to humans.

Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and USDA official, tells the Associated Press, There doesn’t appear to be, at this time, any evidence that suggests that the animals can spread the virus to people or that they can be a source of infection in the United States.

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