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Can my pet dog or cat catch COVID-19 and give it to me? Could the virus be on animal fur?
To be safe, you and pets in your household should remain physically distant from those outside your household, and avoid crowded indoor spaces. Good hygiene should be practiced, and people should wear masks in public.
We're likely a bigger risk to our pets than they are to us. People are more likely to catch COVID-19 from other people and transmit the coronavirus to their pets than the other way around; evidence to date suggests cats and dogs are highly unlikely to pass SARS-CoV-2 to humans. However, some do believe that pets may be "silent spreaders" of COVID-19 since COVID-19 symptoms in pets are likely mild to nonexistent. Furthermore, cats have been shown to spread the coronavirus to other cats in the laboratory. Scientists are actively investigating how companion animals play into the pandemic.
That being said, if someone infected with the COVID-19 virus were to, for example, cough on a bench that a dog then brushed up against, picking up virus on its fur, and you then pet the dog, getting virus on your hands, and then touched your face and breathed in the virus, there's a chance you could become infected.
Drafted 24 August 2020