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VERIFY: There's little chance petting animals will spread coronavirus

The coronavirus has led individuals to worry about touching animals.

WASHINGTON — Furry friends are always a solace, especially during a time of crisis like the one the world is currently facing.

This has left many pet owners wondering if petting or cuddling their pets could leave them exposed to the novel coronavirus.

THE QUESTION:

Can the coronavirus be transmitted from an infected person to another person by petting the fur of their pet?

THE ANSWER:

It's unlikely. The VERIFY team can't flat out say no because there's always a chance of something strange happening here. However, according to the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pet fur is not a great environment for carrying the virus.

SOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
World Health Organization
American Veterinary Medical Association 

WHAT WE FOUND:

Although other coronaviruses that infect animals have infected people, it is very rare and, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19.

That being said, pet owners should be washing their hands after handling their animals, their food, waste or supplies. They should also limit their contact with other animals that aren't their own just in case.

The American Veterinary Medical Association said, "Because your pet’s hair is porous and also fibrous, it is very unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 by petting or playing with your pet. However, because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; and regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys."

If someone suspects that they have the virus, it is best to touch and interact with pets as little as possible.

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