Novel Coronavirus: Does It Affect Dogs and Cats in Singapore?

Dog wearing mask in China

How does the 2019 Novel Coronavirus affect you and your pets?

  • The World Health Organization confirms that there has been no cases of pets getting infected by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
  • It is a small possibility of your pet spreading the Coronavirus to you IF they come in contact with an infected person.
  • Coronavirus disease that affects dogs is not the same as the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
  • Face masks for dogs that are popular in China do not help reduce the chances of humans getting infected.


As the world deals with the ongoing outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Singapore has seen its fair share of paranoia among many of citizens. With concerns over how the Coronavirus is transmitted, people have been seen donning all sorts of face masks, shower caps, goggles and even surgical gowns!

But what about our pets? More specifically, can our dogs or cats infect us with the Novel Coronavirus? These are the questions that many pet parents are concerned about. We at Kohepets have decided to compile a quick guide to address some of these questions.

Q: Can my dog or cat get infected with the Novel Coronavirus?
A: Not likely, this new specific strain of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) does not seems to affect dogs or cats. The World Health Organization has stated that there are no reported cases of the Coronavirus infecting dogs or cats.

Courtesy of the World Health Organization (WHO)

Q: Can my dog or cat spread the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?
A: Possible, but unlikely. If your pet comes into contact with an infected person, it may create a small possibility that they might spread it to you.

Q: Is it likely that someone infected could pass the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to my dog or cat?
A: That depends. Your dog or cat would most likely be staying indoors within your home. Unless your dog or cat goes out unsupervised, there is very little chance of your pet coming into contact with an infected person.

Q: But what if we unknowingly come across someone infected?
A: If you are taking your pet out and come across someone who might be infected, chances are higher that you might get infected directly from the other person as compared to your pet getting infected, and then spreading it to you.

Unless you are the kind of pawrent that sees someone sneezing or coughing into their hands and STILL allows them to pet your furkid – You shouldn’t wouldn’t worry.

Q: So is it safe to take my pets out for walks?
A: Yes, going for a quick walk is fine. Just avoid heavily populated areas. The best solution for the time being is to practice basic etiquette if you have to bring your dog out for a walk. Politely refuse or explain to people why they should refrain from petting your dog for the time being.

Q: Do I have to get a Face Mask for my dog / cat?
A: No. As mentioned earlier, there is no evidence that neither dogs or cats can get sick or infected by the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Despite numerous sales of pet face masks in China, there is no reason why you should bother getting one for your pet in Singapore. As mentioned before, there have been no reports of domesticated pets getting sick from the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Dog masks being sold in Beijing, China, to protect against Coronavirus
Picture: Zhou Tianxiao

Q: But I’ve heard / read that dogs can get sick from the Coronavirus. Is it true?
A: That is a DIFFERENT type of Coronavirus. Otherwise known as Coronavirus disease, which is infectious to dogs – especially puppies. This Coronavirus disease affects your dog’s intestines, causing abdominal pain or discomfort and is usually short lived.

Unlike the current Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Canine coronavirus cannot infect humans and is transmitted by oral contact with fecal matter or through interactions between dogs.

Q: What should I do if I’m worried that my cat / dog could pass the infection to me?
A: First and foremost, don’t overreact. Knowledge and awareness is important to prevent panic and unnecessary extreme measures. Take this news article for an example:

Practicing common sense along with good hygiene will help to lower the risks of infection. This also applies to those who are taking care of pets as well – Keep them clean and safe (as you always should)!