The fact that dogs can successfully sniff out COVID isn’t exactly breaking news. Way back in the early days of the pandemic — it sure seems like years ago but it was actually July 2020 — a study found that trained dogs could sniff out the virus in human saliva and respiratory secretions with 94% accuracy.
The latest study found trained dogs’ accuracy to be even greater, and it also discovered that dogs can also detect COVID in people with no symptoms.
During the study, which was conducted early last year in France, five dogs who’d received three to six weeks of training sniffed 335 human sweat samples. When the dogs detected COVID in a sample, they would sit and be rewarded with a toy. They were super speedy, taking only 15 seconds to sniff 20 samples.
The dogs were a little less accurate in detecting COVID-free samples. They identified 91% correctly — which is still pretty doggone amazing.
“The dog doesn’t lie,” Dominique Grandjean, one of the researchers and a veterinarian at the National School of Veterinary Medicine of Alfort in Maisons-Alfort, told Science News.
Trained COVID-sniffing dogs have already been put to work in airports around the world. Back in September 2021, the Miami International Airport (MIA) started using specially trained dogs to sniff out COVID in airport employees. Earlier last year, the Miami Heat became the first NBA team to sniff out fans at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
With COVID cases on the rise yet again, trained dogs may need to be around for a while. If you think you may have COVID, get tested right away — don’t rely on your own untrained dog to detect it! Here are some tips for what dog owners should do if they are infected with the virus.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons