CALGARY -- A review of available research from around the world shows that while pets may contract COVID-19 there is very little risk of them passing it on to their people.

Dogs, cats, hamsters and ferrets all appear able to contract the virus, but evidence suggests they are not good spreaders - and symptoms remain mild.

“We have absolutely no cases of this being given to people from their pets,” said Dr Rebecca Archer, a veterinary researcher with University of Calgary. “That’s the one we really want to emphasize and to make sure that people and their pets remain safe in this.”

The virus could in theory be carried on a pet’s fur, but the chances of it being spread that way are exceedingly small.

“We have seen cases where pets such as dogs and cats become infected,” Archer said. “There is no evidence they have given it back to other people.”

She cautioned that some of what is understood about the virus and people could change. While most scientific research involves years of rigorous data collection followed by analysis and review by impartial experts, COVID-19 was only identified in December.

Because of its massive threat to public health and the economy, the scientific community is trying to share information as quickly as possible, knowing that some of it will be quickly shown to be incorrect.

She said there is no reason to give away pets or to distance from them. Treat them as you normally would while maintaining social distance outside the home. If you do become sick with COVID-19, then distance following the same guidelines as you would with other members of your family.