Coronavirus in pets

Can pets catch coronavirus? What do pet owners need to know? Find out everything right here


Coronavirus is the flu-like illness that – after an initial outbreak in Wuhan, Eastern China – forced the UK into lockdown in March. This particular strain of coronavirus is being referred to as COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and has postponed many international sporting events and conferences since being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

In infected patients, the virus itself can cause problems with lungs and breathing. As a pet owner, you may want to know just what the threat of coronavirus is to your cats and dogs. Are animals at the same risk as humans? Are cats and dogs able to transmit coronavirus to their owners? What should you do as a pet owner if you have coronavirus symptoms?

Can your pet catch coronavirus?

Medical experts have said that there’s minimal risk to pets and domestic animals transmitting coronavirus to their owners.

Many pet owners have become concerned about the risk of catching COVID-19 from and, the health of, their pets since a dog in Hong Kong tested positive for coronavirus.

The dog, a Pomeranian, was found to have a low-level of coronavirus, which experts said had likely been transmitted from human-to-pet, rather than pet-to-human. Despite the case of the infected Pomeranian, there remains doubt that pets can actually be infected with COVID-19. A spokesperson for the Hong Kong health department reported that there is “No evidence that pet animals could be a source of infection of Covid-19.”

What have the UK government said about pets and coronavirus?

The UK government have re-iterated that there is no evidence that you can catch COVID-19 from your pets. Official advice is to wash your hands thoroughly after stroking your cats and dogs and to stay inside if you are exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus yourself. Pet owners are encouraged to stay two metres away from others while walking cats and dogs. You can find out more advice on where you can walk your pets during lockdown here

What is canine coronavirus?

Canine coronavirus (CCV) is an infection that can affects a dog’s stomach and intestines. CCV is a highly infectious virus that is passed dog to dog, although its affects are known to be relatively mild on its own. Canine coronavirus is not the same as COVID-19.

Puppies may be at a higher risk of canine coronavirus and will need special attention paid if they were to contract it. While many adult dogs are able to recover from canine coronavirus, it can become more complicated if they suffer from other medical conditions.  

To avoid putting yourself or your cats and dogs at risk of catching COVID-19, health experts have recommended washing your hands after stroking your pets.

Experts say the risk of coronavirus is 'minimal' to your pet

Many pet owners are concerned about the risk of COVID-19 to their cats & dogs, but experts say that 'risk is minimal'.

Symptoms of coronavirus in humans

The main symptoms of coronavirus in humans are:

  • Coughing
  • Fever-like symptoms
  • Breathing problems

Can pet owners catch coronavirus from their dogs?

Experts believe that there is little proof that dogs can pass coronavirus onto their owners.

During the SARS outbreak over a decade ago, some dogs and cats tested positive but didn’t fall ill. Many animal health experts believe that the coronavirus outbreak will also mean that pets won’t become ill, or be able to transmit the virus to their owners.

How many cases of coronavirus are in the UK?

You can keep up to date with the latest government advice on what to do regarding coronavirus and what action you should take if you believe you may be infected on the gov.uk website

Article last updated on June 11th, 2020.

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