Ever since the Coronavirus was declared a pandemic, pet owners have been asking one question- can dogs and cats transfer the virus? Well, they can certainly increase your chances of contracting the virus.
A recent study has claimed that walking your dog might increase catching coronavirus by up to 78%. If you get groceries delivered at home, the risk is doubled. The study was conducted by the University of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health in Spain and based on analysing how everyday behaviour added to the risk of contracting the infection. They discovered supermarket deliveries, as well as dog-walking, increased the risk.
Dogs can catch the virus and spread it or they can carry it on them through contact with public surfaces and then transfer it to their owner. Though it is not well established how many animals can contract and spread the virus. Though the infection has been confirmed in a few dogs and cats, they don’t seem to be sick.
Based on their observations, the researchers involved in this study have suggested dog owners to maintain as much care and hygiene as possible while taking their pet outdoor and also cleaning up properly after the return to home.
Around 2,086 Spanish residents were surveyed. Questions included their activities throughout the pandemic, whether they were infected, and the results were compared to reveal the riskiest activities. Around 98 (4.7%) of these people tested positive at one point or another.
The observations also revealed that getting groceries delivered was 94% riskier than shopping at the store. Working at the office (as opposed to work from home) increased the risk by 74%.
“The results of our research warn of increased contagion among dog-owners,” said Professor Cristina Sánchez González, one of the researchers. However, given the small pool and the fact that correlation is not causation, these results should be taken as a universal rule. These are only observational statistics. According to Professor González there isn’t enough information to say whether dogs spread the virus, as people do, or simply acted as a surface from which people could pick-up the virus. For all one knows, even their faeces could be transferring the virus.
The professor only suggested having increased safety measures for dog-walking and proper hygiene and suggested not to panic.