Can Dogs Be Trained To Detect COVID-19?

We’ve heard of specially skilled dog units that can sniff out illegal drugs, foods at airports, and even pests! But can they sniff out illnesses? What about the coronavirus?

The United Kingdom government has invested a lot of money, a few million actually, to find out if they can do this, and here is how it is done…

A mixed group of Labradors and Cocker Spaniels was chosen to be trained to sniff out the virus. The goal of this is to use them to screen people coming in and out of the country for the COVID-19 virus. We can refer to these teams as Medical Detection Dogs, as stated by the National Health Services. But the real question is, how would they actually smell the virus?

A virus has biomarkers called volatile organic compounds (or VOC’s), making the virus unique from another. When a person is infected with an illness, the biomarkers appear in the blood, and believe it or not, through our breath too! This is where our sniffing Spaniels and loyal Labradors come into play. By sniffing our breath, they are able to detect the biomarkers and help us trace those who are indeed infected. Amazing isn’t it?

The group of scientists in the United Kingdom says that these dogs can smell other diseases too, such as cancer, diabetes, and even malaria. The phenomenal abilities of our precious pets are immeasurable, and we can take pride in knowing that they will always be there to help out in our times of need.

Feature Image Source: Pixabay

Back to blog