Statement: Feral dog transmission of coronavirus

Following recent media reports, we understand that dog owners may be concerned about the potential effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on their four-legged friends and whether or not they can contract or transmit the disease.

Karen Reed, Director of Dogs Trust Worldwide said:

"In a recent scientific publication, a theory was put forward that feral dogs may have played a role as an intermediate host of COVID-19, and then transmitted the disease on to humans.

We want to reassure people that the author of this study himself said that the suggestion that dogs were a potential host species was speculative. We wish to encourage global media outlets to report responsibly on this issue and not take parts of studies out of context, and not to scaremonger.

It’s important that pet owners and Governments globally alike do not take drastic measures in response to this study, given the limited data and lack of evidence that dogs are playing any role in virus transmission.

Dogs can be infected with their own species specific Coronavirus, however there is no evidence that the virus responsible for COVID-19 can be transmitted from dogs to humans (or vice versa). We will continue to monitor this and take guidance from the World Health Organisation.

Although there are currently no confirmed instances of Coronavirus (COVID-19) being passed from pets to people, just like human hands it is possible for dogs to carry the virus on their fur, their collar and lead."

When caring for a dog it is important to remember that basic hygiene is key. This includes washing your hands before and after handling them, as well as avoiding kissing, being licked or sharing food. If you have tested positive for Coronavirus we would recommend limiting physical contact with your dog as much as possible too – as hard as it may be."

For more information about the work that Dogs Trust Worldwide does across the globe, visit: http://www.dogstrustworldwide.com/