Can Dogs Have COVID?

Pug covered with blanket

Can Dogs Have COVID? Yes, Dogs Can Contract COVID-19, But It’s Rare and Typically Mild.

While cases of dogs testing positive for COVID-19 have been documented, infections are typically mild, and there is no evidence that dogs play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

The virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets from infected individuals.

COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms in humans, from mild to severe respiratory illness, and has been a significant global health concern since its emergence in 2019.

The virus can also affect various animals, including dogs.

Understanding COVID-19 in Dogs

COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, can affect various animals, including dogs. However, dogs are generally resistant to the virus, and cases of severe illness are uncommon. Here’s what we know about COVID-19 in dogs:

  • Symptoms: Dogs infected with COVID-19 may exhibit mild respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge. Some dogs might also experience gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Transmission: The primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 is human-to-human, and while dogs can become infected, there is no evidence that they can spread the virus to humans or other animals.
  • Risk Factors: Dogs living in households with infected humans are at a higher risk of exposure, but most infected dogs recover without any serious complications.

How to Protect Dogs from COVID-19

While the risk of dogs contracting COVID-19 is low, it’s still important to take precautions, especially if someone in the household is infected:

  • Limit Contact: If you or someone in your household has COVID-19, avoid close contact with your dog to prevent potential transmission.
  • Practice Hygiene: Wash your hands before and after interacting with your dog and avoid sharing food or personal items.
  • Monitor Health: If your dog exhibits symptoms of illness, such as coughing or lethargy, contact your veterinarian for guidance.

Are Dogs Resistant to Viruses?

Dogs have a natural resistance to many viruses, including some that affect humans, but they are not immune to all viruses.

For example, dogs are susceptible to canine influenza, parvovirus, and other viruses that can impact their health.

Regular veterinary care and vaccinations are crucial for protecting dogs against viral infections.

Can COVID-19 Affect Other Pets?

COVID-19 can affect other pets, including cats and ferrets, but like in dogs, infections are typically mild.

The virus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets, and while pet-to-human transmission is unlikely, it’s important to follow similar precautions to protect other pets in the household.

How to Care for Pets with COVID-19

A Veterinarian and Two Volunteers Helping a Sick Dog

If your pet is diagnosed with COVID-19, or you suspect they might have it, it’s important to take specific steps to care for them and prevent the virus from spreading. Here are some tips on how to care for pets with COVID-19:

  • Isolate the Pet: Keep your pet isolated from other people and animals in your household. Use a separate room or area where they can stay comfortably away from others.
  • Minimal Interaction: Limit your contact with your pet as much as possible, and avoid petting, snuggling, kissing, or sharing food.
  • Wash Hands: Always wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning their area. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wear Protective Gear: If possible, wear a mask and gloves when caring for your pet, especially when cleaning up their waste or handling their food.
  • Track Health: Monitor your pet’s symptoms closely and keep a record of any changes. Common symptoms of COVID-19 in pets include coughing, sneezing, lethargy, and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Contact a Vet: If your pet’s condition worsens or they show severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Clean Surfaces: Regularly disinfect surfaces that your pet has come into contact with, such as floors, bedding, and bowls. Use pet-safe cleaning products to avoid harming your pet.
  • Handle Waste Safely: Clean up your pet’s waste promptly and dispose of it safely. Use gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
  • Seek Guidance: Follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding care, treatment, and any necessary medication. They can provide personalized advice based on your pet’s specific situation.
  • Limit Visits: If possible, avoid taking your pet to the vet in person unless it’s an emergency. Many veterinarians offer telehealth services, allowing you to consult with them remotely.
  • Provide Comfort: Ensure your pet is comfortable by giving them a quiet space to rest. Provide fresh water and their regular food.
  • Avoid Stress: Minimize stress for your pet during their recovery. Keep their environment calm and avoid any disruptions.

By following these guidelines, you can help your pet recover from COVID-19 while keeping yourself and other household members safe.

It’s crucial to monitor your pet’s health closely and seek veterinary assistance if needed to ensure they receive the best possible care.


While dogs can contract COVID-19, the infection is rare and typically mild.

Dogs are not significant spreaders of the virus to humans, but it’s still important to take precautions to protect them, especially if someone in the household is infected.

Regular veterinary care and good hygiene practices can help keep your dog healthy and safe during the pandemic.