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Can my pet give me COVID-19? Don’t stop hugging your pet, because the short answer is simply no!

Over the past few months with cases of infected people increasing at alarming rates around the world,  constant information and news about the virus has become simply inescapable. At times though the news can be overwhelming and even misleading, with one recent such case of this surrounding the lives of our furry friends and whether they could get or pass on COVID-19 to their owners.

This February, the first case arose of a dog testing a “weak positive” to COVID-19. This dog had an owner who had also tested positive to the virus and the concern arose that the dog had become infected and possibly passed it to his owner. The case was reported in Hong Kong, and upon the release of this news immediately caused panic amoungst citizens and lead to the mass abandonment and mistreatment of hundreds of household pets. According to CNN, a group by the name of “Urban Construction Administration” threatened to kill cats and dogs that were outside in an attempt to prevent further transmission of the disease. Tragically a number of other organizations in China also stated that unattended pets would be killed “without exception.” Upon further investigation however it was later found that the dog in question had traces of the virus in its nasal cavity and mouth, suggesting it was a case of human to animal transmission. After about a week, the dog tested negative and was released from quarantine.

Since then, both the Hong Kong Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) have issued statements declaring that there is no evidence pet animals can be infected with COVID-19.

More recently on March 18th, two more dogs were placed in quarantine after their owners tested positive for COVID-19, but only one of them tested positive for the virus. As with the previous case, the authorities believe this is another instance of human-to-animal transmission. With there still being no evidence to the fear that pets could transmit COVID-19 onto others.

The American Veterinary Medical Association states that as of March 26th, “Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) have also stated, “To date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.”

So while those who are already infected with COVID-19 should limit their contact with their animals to continue to err on the side of caution across all matters, for those of us who still remain healthly we encourage you to not practice social distancing with your furry friend. Your little mate can not give you COVID-19, he can just give you much needed love and affection. Especially in these times of isolation do not miss the benefits of cuddling and playing with pet.

From all of us at Rufus & Coco, stay safe and keep on hugging your pet!