There’s have been some articles circulating about how having a dog increases Covid risk. People are rightfully concerned. I’d like to calm some nerves.
Friendly reminder: dogs and cats do not transmit Covid any more than any other object.
If they did, veterinary staff would be dropping like flies.
And we’re not.
If you want a more detailed explanation of association vs causation, here it is:
Studies are often published that show an association or correlation between two things. An association does NOT mean a cause and effect. And the two things that are associated (like dog ownership and Covid) can be completely unrelated!
Example: dogs that are not spayed or neutered are more likely to have heartworm than dogs who are altered.
Does that mean the presence or absence of sex organs has anything to do with the heartworm-infected mosquito biting your dog?
Does that mean that if you spay or neuter your dog it will prevent heartworm?
So what does this information tell us? NOTHING! It gets someone published, and they hope it gets people talking and promotes them.
So how is it that spayed/neutered dogs don’t get heartworm as often?
Lots of factors are likely in play:
Dogs that are altered are more likely to see a veterinarian on a regular basis.
They are more likely to be on heartworm preventative.
They are more likely to be indoors, hence less mosquito exposure.
These are just generalizations, but that’s what these studies are all about – generalizations!
So the act of spaying or neutering has ZERO to do with heartworm!
See how misleading that was?
So if someone says dog ownership correlates to increased Covid, what does that mean?
Nothing, since this is merely an association with no cause and effect.
What if you live in a city and have to get on a crowded elevator every time your dog has to got out to pee? That would increase your risk of Covid.
What if you hang out at dog parks in close range with other people? That would increase your risk of Covid.
What if you are unable to walk your dog, and have a variety of people coming over to your house to walk your dog for you? Yup, more Covid risk!
So there’s a few situations that can potentially increase Covid risk… and have nothing to do with the actual dog!
And interestingly, if you read to the bottom of these studies, they often admit that these are just observations and there are no causal relationships.
I’m just here to point it out. 🙂