I love going for long walks with my dog. But, I heard that my dog can give me COVID-19! Is this true?

Infection and Spread Mental Health Staying Safe

A: Possible, but not likely (and remember, SARS-CoV-2 is the virus, COVID-19 is the disease in humans). So put on your mask, grab your hand sanitizer, and … keep walking your dog!

Here’s the longer version.

Over the past week, several news outlets have claimed that people who walk dogs are more likely to have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. This claim is based on one study coming out of Spain, where people self-reported symptoms of COVID-19 and daily activities.

We have previous reports of SARS-CoV-2 leading to illness among warm blooded animals. There were: dogs such as Buddy, an adorable 7 year old German Shepherd, a tiger at the Bronx zoo , and Papille, the sweet cat who recovered from her illness. Of course, we have recent evidence of transmission of humans to minks, from mink to mink, from minks to other animals, and possibly minks to humans.

But, here are the key messages:

1) Overall, there have been relatively few animals (less than 1,500 identified) who have contracted SARS-CoV-2 and

2) Human-human transmission is the primary driver of this pandemic.

There are also many positive effects of having and caring for dogs such as exercise, improved mental health, socialization, and creating daily purpose.

It is probable that recent news of COVID-19 among dog walkers is more likely related to the hygiene around dogs and their behaviors in and out of the home. We also know that they can get sick, so it is important to protect them as well.

So, please, continue to walk your dog. Just keep the following in mind when you do:

1-Make sure to physically distance from others.

2-Keep interactions with other dog owners brief (we know this is hard at the dog park!)

3-Consider having a limited group of dog friends for your canine companion [and meet them following #StaySMART guidelines.

4-Wear a mask when walking your dog.

5-Always wash hands before and after walking your dog.

6-If sick, try to avoid snuggling, cuddling or close contact with your dog.

7-Avoid kissing your dog (we know you can’t always avoid their kisses or licks!).

Follow the above recommendations and continue to enjoy your time with your dog. Your dog will thank you!

Stay safe. Stay sane.

With love,
The Nerdy Girls

CDC link for information

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