Coronavirus and pets: Your cat or dog probably can’t get COVID-19, WHO says

Amid a global outbreak, pet owners have been wondering if their furry friends are at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

As of right now, the answer is no, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“At present, there is no evidence that companion animals / pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus,” the WHO said on its website. “However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.”

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There were initial reports from the Government of Hong Kong that a dog had tested “weak positive” for COVID-19 after nasal and oral cavity samples were taken. The dog “ showed the presence of genetic material from the COVID-19 virus,” and that it was “not showing any clinical signs of the disease.”

Even though that dog tested positive, health experts remain adamant that the virus itself cannot be spread or transmitted to dogs and pets based on current evidence.

Those who have been infected with COVID-19 are still urged to limit their contact with animals and to have another member of their household care for their pets if they are sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC also notes that those sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with their pet and, if they must, wear a face mask and wash their hands before/after interacting with pets.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.