Co-Sleeping with Pets Exposes Them to COVID-19 Infection
written by/ November 3, 2021
Recent research suggests that we should deny ourselves yet another feel-good interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic—co-sleeping with our pets.
According to the research presented in the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), humans can transfer coronavirus infections to their dogs and cats, especially if they let the animals sleep in their beds.
To determine how susceptible pets are to contracting COVID-19 from their owners, a team of researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, tested 54 dogs and 48 cats for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
The pets were selected from 77 households where the owners had reported a past COVID-19 infection. For comparison, 75 stray cats and the same number of shelter animals (dogs and cats) were also tested for past COVID-19 infections.
The results showed that more than two-thirds of the pet cats (67%) and 43% of the pet dogs tested had contracted the virus. On the other hand, only 9% of the shelter cats and dogs and 3% of the stray cats tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
Cats (27%) were more prone to symptomatic manifestation than dogs (20%). The cats—three of which were severely ill—had a runny nose and breathing difficulties. The dogs mostly had a mild form of the virus, with symptoms like lack of energy and appetite loss.
Scientists compared the results with owners’ feedback about the closeness and duration of their daily contact with their pets.
It turned out that cats with prolonged and close contact with their owners were more likely to get infected. Cats’ receptors make these animals more vulnerable to infection with COVID-19. However, the duration of exposure and closeness didn’t seem to be a factor with dogs.
Although co-sleeping with pets is a stress-relieving experience, to protect your four-legged friend, you should probably rely on a natural sleep aid to help you sleep better. The CDC advises pet owners who feel sick to keep their distance from their pets and avoid close contact.