Walking your pet dog may raise your risk of catching coronavirus by 78 per cent, a study has claimed.
Spanish researchers looked at how different behaviours change people’s likelihood of catching the virus — and found getting supermarket deliveries and dog-walking were significant.
They suggested dogs could be catching the virus and spreading it, or transporting it by touching contaminated surfaces in public and then their owners.
How much animals actually spread the virus is still not well understood, although there have been confirmed cases in cats and dogs and the disease ultimately came from bats via another species. Animals do not appear to get sick, however.
The scientists who carried out the study claimed dog owners should be extra careful about hygiene during and after taking their pet outdoors.
The study was done by the University of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health in Spain.
Researchers did a survey of 2,086 people in Spain, some 41 per cent of whom were middle-aged between 40 and 54 years old.
People were asked what they had done during the pandemic and whether they had caught coronavirus, then the scientists compared the result to work out which activities were riskiest.
They found 4.7 per cent of the group caught Covid at some point – approximately 98 people.
Activities that were linked to an increased risk of testing positive included accepting supermarket deliveries at home, which raised the risk by 94 per cent and was found to be more dangerous than actually going to the shop.