Can pets catch coronavirus and pass it on? How to protect your cats and dogs – The Sun

IF you have got Covid and a pet, you might be wondering if you can pass it on to your beloved companion.

Several dogs and cats have been infected with Covid-19 from their owners – although this is quite rare.

Can my cat or dog catch Covid from me?

A 2021 study suggested that Covid is common in pet cats and dogs whose owners have the disease.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been multiple reports of pets testing positive for Covid-19 following close contact with their infected owners.

The World Organisation for Animal Health said: "Now that Covid-19 virus infections are widely distributed in the human population there is a possibility for some animals to become infected through close contact with infected humans."

In the UK, official government lines state "There is limited evidence that some animals, including pets, can become infected with Covid-19."

However, in line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, pet owners who are displaying symptoms should restrict contact with pets and wash their hands thoroughly before and after interacting with their pet.

Researchers in China discovered that cats can be infected with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, and can spread it to other cats through respiratory droplets.

A study has also found that pets that sleep in their infected owner's bed are more likely to catch the virus.

Can I still take my pet to the vet if I have Covid?

All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided, unless someone else can take your pet for you while you are ill.

If your pet needs urgent treatment, you must phone the vet to arrange the best approach to meet your pets’ needs.

What advice is there for pet owners with Covid-19?

Battersea have a detailed guide on taking care of pets during the Covid pandemic. 

The Canine and Feline Sector Group – made up of the UK’s leading dog, cat, and veterinary organisations – have also put together guidance for pet owners and dog walkers during the pandemic.

The British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) advice for pet owners diagnosed with Covid-19 is:

  • If you are unwell and worried about passing anything onto your pet, wash your hands before stroking them and wear a mask while being close to them
  • If your pet shows clinical signs, please do not take it to the vet but call the practice for advice.
  • If your pet requires emergency treatment, call the practice for further advice. Do not take your pet to the surgery unless the vet instructs you to. You may need to arrange for someone else to transport your pet for treatment.

What should you do about walking the dog if you think you may be infected?

Under the current guidance, you must stay home and isolate for 10 days if you test positive for Covid-19.

This means that if possible, you have to let your dog out in the garden or just outside your house.

In case this is not possible, you should ask another member of the household or someone outside of it to walk the dog, if they are not positive and have been fully vaccinated.

If you have been asked to walk someone else's dog, you can do that as long as you are not displaying any symptoms of the virus.

This counts as caring for a vulnerable person, which includes those self-isolating or being shielded.

Remember to wash your hands before and after handling the dog and keep two metres away from other people and animals while walking, including when handing over the dog to the owner.

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