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(PRNewsfoto/Good Air Team LLC)

People aren't the only ones who need to wear a mask for protection, at least that is what Austin's own K9 Mask owners are pitching Friday on Shark Tank.


Austin entrepreneur Kirby Holmes and his cousin Evan Daugherty, co-owners of Good Air Team LLC, will try to convince the "Sharks" to invest in their muzzle-shaped masks, which they say protect dogs from smoke, chemicals, allergens and bacteria.

"Anytime a person needs to wear an air filter mask, a dog in the same environment needs to be protected," Holmes said in a statement, emphasizing the mask's usefulness in areas where wildfire smoke is a serious health hazard.

The company has raised over $280,000 in sales through their website and Amazon.

Recent headlines about the pandemic might help their pitch. A recent Spain study identified what could be a link between dogs and COVID-19.

Someone who owns a dog and takes it for walks increases their risk of catching the coronavirus by 78%, researchers at the University of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health found.

The study's authors suggested dogs could be catching the virus and spreading it. Or, like muddy paw prints on the kitchen floor, they could be tracking it in from outside surfaces.

To get these results, scientists surveyed more than 2,000 people to ask if they had caught the coronavirus, and what activities they had been doing during the pandemic. The researchers found that those who had caught the virus—nearly 5% of the group—were more likely to own a dog that they took for walks.

Still, the American Veterinary Medical Association says the chance of your dog catching COVID-19 is very slim. Only 65 pets in the U.S. have had reported infections, including a Yorkie in Texas. Most of the cases involved a pet owner who was infected first.

COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.

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