Last week, Hong Kong authorities reported they quarantined a pet dog after its nasal and oral samples tested “weak positive” for the virus, but they added the dog did not have any symptoms nor did they have any evidence that it can be transmitted to pets.

“At present, the AFCD (Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department) does not have evidence that pet animals can be infected… or can be a source of infection to people,” AFCD said in a statement.

“There is no evidence that the human novel coronavirus can infect dogs and it would be incredible for a virus to make so many species jumps in such a short space of time,” said Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham. “In truth, [the report] is incredibly irresponsible because the last thing we need to do is create mass hysteria about the possibility of dogs being infected, and therefore potentially transmitting this virus when there is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever.”

There is no evidence that animal companions can be infected by the virus or can infect humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) still advises pet owners to take needed precautions to keep safe from the virus.

WHO says it’s important to always wash your hands with soap and water, especially after contact with pets because of salmonella and E.coli risk that can pass from animals to humans. Pet owners could also put pet mask on their pets and keep them inside to avoid any chance of spreading the virus.

If your animal companion gets sick after contact with someone infected with Covid-19, you should immediately call your veterinarian. But remember, it is still highly unlikely that a dog or cat could be infected with the virus.

“The current advice from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) remains that the predominant route of transmission is human to human,” said Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association. “Further advice from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association is that there is currently no evidence that pets can be infected with Covid-19 and this remains the case at the time of commenting on Friday 28 February.”

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