Can People Spread Monkeypox to Dogs?

Italian Greyhound who doesn't have monkeypox

We know that people can spread COVID to their dogs (but not vice versa). We also know that monkeypox can be spread to people by animals like prairie dogs. But can people spread monkeybox to their pet dogs?

Lesions began to appear on a 4-year-old Italian Greyhound in Paris 12 days after her two male owners began showing the symptoms of monkeypox, according to a report published August 10 in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

The dog tested positive for the virus, as did its owners.

The owners said the dog had been previously been sharing their bed. After the men began showing symptoms, they were careful to keep their dog away from other people and animals.

Monkeypox has been known to infect wild animals such as prairie dogs, other rodents, and primates. However, this is the first known case of a domestic pet dog or cat becoming infected with the virus, the report authors noted.

“To the best of our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in both patients and, subsequently, in their dog, suggest human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox virus,” the authors wrote.

This should come as no surprise, said Dr. Rosamund Lewis at a Washington Post Live event yesterday. Lewis should know — she is the technical lead on monkeypox for the World Health Organization (WHO).

“This is an example where most pets will not be at risk,” she said. “It may only be those who are actually in the household of someone who’s infected.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s possible for people to spread the virus to animals “through close contact, including petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas and sharing food.”

It’s not yet known whether pets infected with monkeypox can transmit the virus to people.

How to protect your dog from monkeypox

If you have monkeypox, the CDC recommends avoiding contact with domestic and wild animals.

“Pets that had close contact with a symptomatic person with monkeypox should be kept at home and away from other animals and people for 21 days after the most recent contact,” the CDC says. “Infected people should not take care of exposed pets.”

If you’re infected and can’t isolate yourself from your dog, the CDC recommends doing the following:

  • Don’t put a mask on your dog. (!)
  • Avoid close contact with your dog.
  • Ensure your dog can’t access contaminated items like clothing, sheets or towels you’ve used.
  • Make sure your dog’s food, bedding, toys and other items don’t come in direct contact with your skin or uncovered rash.

If your dog shows any of the following symptoms within 21 days of being exposed to someone with monkeypox, take them to a veterinarian:

  • a pimple- or blister-like skin rash
  • nasal secretions or crust
  • lethargy
  • lack of appetite
  • coughing

Fortunately, unlike COVID, the West African type of monkeypox is rarely fatal.

Photo: Jean (This is a random Italian Greyhound who doesn’t have monkeypox)

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!