Coronavirus and dogs

Government guidance states that it is rare for animals to catch coronavirus. If they do contract the virus, they often only show mild symptoms and are better within a few days.

There is evidence that coronavirus can pass from infected humans to animals, including dogs. As a precaution, you should:

  • wash your hands with soap before and after any contact with your dog, their food and bedding (avoid hand sanitisers or wipes that could harm your pet)
  • avoid sharing food with your dog
  • avoid contact such as kissing or cuddling if you’re self-isolating

Your pet’s fur can act as a carrier for Covid-19 like other surfaces. But there is no evidence that washing your dog controls the spread of the virus and you must only use products that are made for pets if you do decide to wash them.

Frequently asked questions

Does my dog need to be vaccinated against Covid-19?

Although there have been media reports of an Covid-19 vaccine for animals, this is not currently available. It also isn’t clear whether this would significantly stop the spread of coronavirus in the community. 

Instead, you should follow good hygiene routines including washing your hands before and after any contact with your pet, their food and bedding.

How to protect your dog from coronavirus

If you have Covid-19, then ideally, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals ie no kissing, cuddling or stroking.

If you have sole responsibility of your dog with no help, then be sure to wash your hands before and after touching them.

What if I think my dog has Covid-19?

If you’re concerned about your dog because they have respiratory or digestive problems and a temperature, you should contact your vet who will decide if they need to be tested or need any treatment.

Can my dog go outside if I am self-isolating?

People who have symptoms of coronavirus are asked to stay at home and not leave at all for a period of 10 days from when their symptoms started. Those that live in a household with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus must stay at home for 14 days from when the first person in the household became ill.

Government advice currently states that if you are self-isolating and cannot exercise your dog at home, you should ask someone who does not live in your household and who is not self-isolating to walk your dog for you.

If you have no one to walk your dog, then they can’t go for a walk as you will need to self-quarantine, but they can go out in the garden for toilet breaks. If you don’t have a garden you can take them to just outside your home to go to the loo, but make sure to stay well away from others and minimise your time outside. If you are well enough, you can keep them entertained within the home with some great indoor games for dogs.

Can I still take my dog to the vet if I have Covid-19?

If you are self-isolating and your dog needs urgent care always speak to your vet. They may be able to re-arrange your appointment or be happy for someone outside your household to bring in your dog for any examinations or treatment.