Tufts study: Pet owners not likely to give coronavirus to dogs, cats

MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - Tufts researchers have some promising news for pet owners — while it’s not impossible, the risk of pet owners passing the coronavirus onto their furry friends is low.

A study conducted by the School of Veterinary Medicine looked at whether people infected with the coronavirus could pass it on to their pets, and a percentage of the pets tested came from homes where there was a confirmed or suspected case of the virus.

“The reason we’re doing this study is we love animals and we know particularly animals in tough times can be a source of mental health help,” said researcher Kaitlin Sawatzki. “They’re the best. While we want to protect our pets we also want to be near them.”

And owners can continue to be close to their pets, Sawatzki said.

“We are really excited and happy that of over 360 samples [from] animals tested, we’ve have none test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean owners shouldn’t also take precautions to keep pets safe. Sawatzki said fewer licks to the face are in order, and pets should also practice social distancing with other animals.

“We wouldn’t recommend a ton of pet to pet interactions, maybe you could even have a pet bubble where your dog or cat hangs out with a lot or a few animals,” Sawatzki said.

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)