Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is issuing advice to reassure owners around coronavirus transmission and dogs following recent media coverage.
There remains no confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) being transmitted from dogs to people. The main source of infection is human-to-human transmission.
However, just like human hands, it is possible for dogs to carry the virus on their fur, their collar and lead.
With more people able to visit friends and families in gardens and in parks, and their dogs able to visit vets and dog walkers as restrictions ease, there will naturally be more opportunities for people to interact with you and your dog.
The charity is advising owners that there is little risk of the disease being transmitted from a dog to them, but to follow these simple steps to help protect themselves and others.
Dogs Trust advice includes:
- 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, as hard as it may be.
- 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, do remember to wash your hands and avoid visiting if you are unwell.
Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust, said: “We understand that dog owners may be concerned about the potential effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their four-legged friends and whether or not they can contract or transfer the disease. The main source of infection is human-to-human transmission, and there is no current evidence to suggest your dog poses any significant risk to your health.
“Although a dog has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), there are still no confirmed instances of the virus being passed from dogs to people. However, just like human hands and any other surface it is possible for dogs to carry the virus on their fur, their collar and lead.
“To keep ourselves and our pets safe, it is important that we all work together to follow Government guidance and keep our distance from others. 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 (COVID-19) we would recommend limiting physical contact with your dog as much as possible too – as hard as it may be.”