Study suggests dog walkers 78% more likely to get COVID-19 in first lockdown

November 19, 2020
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A study out of Spain found that walking your dog may increase your odds of getting COVID-19.

Scientists from the Andalusian School of Public Health in Grenada sent a survey to more than 2,000 residents throughout Spain during the country’s strict first lockdown.

"Among all the sociodemographic variables analyzed, walking the dog was shown to have the strongest effect,” the study says – increasing a dog walker’s risk by 78 percent.

“The results of this study demonstrate that living with dogs, working on-site, purchasing essential commodities by using home delivery service, and especially, living with a COVID-19 patient, have been the main routes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”

What the researchers are now trying to figure out is why the percentage is so high. Scientists are exploring whether it’s because humans are catching the virus from the dog or if dog walkers tend to socialize while out and about and therefore aren’t maintaining social distance.

Researchers admit that more study needs to be done and that the odds of a dog testing positive for the coronavirus is “extremely unlikely.”

The Grenada scientists say pet owners may face a higher risk due to the “unhygienic habits of dogs on the streets and their subsequent return home.”

“Subsequent studies are needed to determine whether the reason for this intense increase in the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is due to cross-infection between humans and dogs or to the concept of dog as a vehicle, increasing exposure to the virus derived from behavior and unhygienic habits of dogs on the streets and their subsequent return home.”

The CDC reports that there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus to people.

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