“Since we don’t have evidence at this point that dogs get sick with COVID-19, they should not wear face masks,” says one expert.
Most of us have heard the experts’ advice on how to minimize the human-to-human spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, starting with: Wash your hands, wash your hands some more, don’t touch your face, and limit your exposure to anyone who is sick or who may have been exposed.
But reports detailed in a press release March 4, 2020, that a pet dog in Hong Kong has repeatedly tested positive for the coronavirus may have you wondering about human-to-animal and animal-to-human transmission.
Samples taken from the dog’s nose and mouth indicate a low level of infection that was likely a case of human-to-animal transmission, according to the report. The dog, currently under quarantine in a Hong Kong facility, doesn’t show any signs of disease.
Still, if you’re a dog owner, all of this may have worried. Read on to find out what precautions experts recommend to keep you and your pets healthy.
- Should I Be Worried That My Dog Might Get Coronavirus?
There is no evidence that pets can develop COVID-19, according to Jane Sykes, PhD, a professor at the University of California in Davis, who specializes in infectious diseases of dogs and cats.
Still, until we know more about transmission of the coronavirus between humans and animals, people who are sick with COVID-19 should avoid very close contact with their pets, “including snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food,” Dr. Sykes says. They should also wash their hands before and after interacting with their pets and wear a face mask.