A study out of Spain has pet lovers who frequently walk their dogs worried, after the findings revealed that they were 78 per cent more likely to catch the deadly COVID-19 virus.

The study, published in the Environmental Research journal, found that walking a pet, working at the office and receiving supermarket deliveries at home were among a group of activities that increased the likelihood of an individual contracting COVID-19.

Among all the sociodemographic variables analyzed, walking the dog was shown to have the strongest effect,” the study revealed.

While subsequent studies are needed to determine the reason for this increased risk of infection, researchers suggest that it could be as a result of cross-infection between humans and dogs, with dog owners at an increased risk due to unhygienic habits of the animals while on the streets.

Professor Cristina Sánchez González at the University of Granada, which conducted the study, explained that it was likely that the virus was being spread in dog faeces but cautioned that this was not yet confirmed.

The study sampled 2,086 people in Spain, with participants asked what they had done during the pandemic and whether they had caught COVID-19.

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