Can I Still Kiss My Dog? Health Officials Respond to Pet's Coronavirus Infection

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By Ashleigh Carter, NowThis News

After a dog tested positive for weak amounts of the novel strain of coronavirus, officials in China have warned pet owners not to kiss their pets — but the World Health Organization has said there's no evidence that pets can get the virus.

In Hong Kong, a 17-year-old Pomeranian that belongs to a patient infected with COVID-19, was tested and found to also have a low-level infection. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said the test was “weak positive,” and that the dog is currently being quarantined but is healthy and not showing any symptoms. Officials said the dog’s infection is a result of human-to-animal transmission. 

After the dog tested positive, Hong Kong’s SPCA posted on Facebook saying, “Members of the public are advised to differentiate that ‘being infected’ does not equal being infectious and capable of spreading the COVID-19 virus. We wish to remind the public that there is no evidence that companion animals can transmit the disease to humans.”

The World Health Organization has noted on its website that “there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.”

In response, the AFCD said: “COVID-19 is a newly emerged disease and scientists are still trying to understand more about it… However, there is still no evidence at this time that mammalian pet animals including dogs and cats could be a source of infection to other animals or humans.”  

Health officials at the AFCD suggest that pet owners use proper hygiene practices when interacting with their animals including washing their hands when handling animals/ their food, avoid kissing them, and maintain a clean household.

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