Can Dogs Smell COVID?

Dogs have been used for the detection of rare diseases for years. They can even detect rare diseases such as cancer. A history of canines in the disease detection sector urged scientists to think that can dogs smell COVID?

After different researches, it has been found…

Yes, dogs can smell COVID. Dogs sense of smell is 100,000 times better than humans, which allows them to recognize smells that are unnoticeable for humans.

Since the first case of COVID was detected till now, this deadly virus has infected millions of people around the globe. The primary testing tools such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are considered effective in detecting COVID, but they are not affordable for all the countries.

Amid these circumstances, the assumption was made that dogs can detect COVID. Later, studies proved that dogs could smell COVID-19 and detect the virus more quickly than medical detection tools.

Here you’ll find everything about how dogs help fight against COVID.

Research Evidence About Dogs Detecting COVID-19

The statement that dogs can detect COVID-19 is purely based on research evidence. Many studies were conducted worldwide to entitle dogs as COVID sniffers.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine considered dogs’ disease detection abilities and assumed that dogs could smell COVID. Based on their hypothesis, in November 2020, they started training dogs to recognize scents from human body fluids, such as sweat.

The results were in their favor and beyond their expectations too. Dogs showed impressive results in detecting the COVID-19 virus in human body fluids.

Initially, the Penn researchers gave training to the disease sniffing dogs to detect COVID from the saliva and urine of the humans. Then they thought can dogs detect COVID from the clothes worn by the COVID infected person.

The results were a big yes. The dogs used in this experiment detected the COVID from the sweaty shirts of the COVID patient in seconds. One of the dogs detected the virus in 12 seconds, and the other took 23 seconds to identify COVID, which is super-quick compared to PCR.

The University of Pennsylvania isn’t the only institute that studied, that dogs can detect COVID. Researches were done worldwide to prove this statement.

Many organizations in the United States of America contributed to studies regarding COVID-19 virus sniffing dogs. The Doctors Hospital of Sarasota in Florida conducted a study that showed that dogs could detect COVID from the visitor’s shoes.

A study was done in France by France’s National Veterinary School in collaboration with the Necker-Cochin Hospital’s Clinical Research Unit in Paris also proved that dogs could smell COVID.

Besides these, there were many other tons of researches that have shown that dogs have the ability to detect COVID. They can be used in detecting this deadly virus even when the person has no symptoms of being infected by the COVID.

Research Evidence About Dogs Detecting COVID-19

Can All Dogs Smell COVID?

No, all dogs can’t smell COVID. If you’re expecting from your domestic dog that he can smell COVID and warn you before you the infection becomes severe, then you’re mistaking.

Dogs need special training for detecting COVID. The dogs who participated in the research were first trained to identify the COVID-19 virus in the clinical trials. The training period is different for different dogs.

The dogs who are already trained to identify scents need 6-8 weeks of training. Dogs that have never been trained require at least 3-6 months to detect SARs-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID.

Can Dogs Help To Slow Down COVID Infections?

There are different COVID-19 tests, such as saliva tests, antigen tests, etc., that are being used to detect SARs-CoV-2. But these tests have different prices and accuracy.

For example, the most frequently used tests are RT-PCR tests. These tests are not only expensive but are time-consuming too. Other tests, such as the temperature checks, are quick, but they don’t clearly differentiate between a fever due to COVID or other infections.

In this scenario, dogs can be a quick help in detecting COVID. As mentioned before, they can detect COVID in seconds. So, it can be said that dogs can help to slow down COVID infections by detecting virus-infected persons without the time to take medical tests.

But, still, after the initial detection by the dog, medical testing is vital for affirmation.

Can All Dogs Smell COVID?

How Accurately Can Dogs Detect COVID?

As per recent research in the UK, dogs can detect COVID with 94% accuracy. They allowed the dogs to smell 3500 odor samples, but neither the dogs nor the researchers were aware of whether the samples are favorable or not. Dogs detected the presence of the COVID-19 virus with a 94.3% sensitivity.

Can Dogs Spread The COVID Virus Further After Smelling?

No, dogs can’t spread the COVID virus further after smelling or being in touch with a COVID-infected person. This is because dogs are not capable of replicating the COVID virus in their bodies. When the virus isn’t replicated, dogs don’t become a source of infection.

There are many cases in which dogs were infected with the COVID virus. They got it from their COVID-positive owners, but they didn’t become sick.

No contact was allowed between the dog’s nose and the COVID-containing sample to be on the safe side. It was done to reduce the risk of the transmission of the COVID virus from the dog to the humans and other dogs.


Dogs can smell COVID, and it’s not just a random statement. Many researches have proven this statement since the COVID-19 was first detected till now.

In these researches, dogs were given special training to identify COVID. That means every dog can’t detect COVID without proper training.

Dogs are quick at detecting the COVID virus, so they can be used for the early detection of the virus. Moreover, the dogs detect COVID with a 94% accuracy rate which means they can help slow down the spread of the COVID.

Another amazing thing is that dogs can’t transmit the virus to other people and dogs because they can’t replicate the virus. So, dogs are great for quick and safe detection of the COVID virus.