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Covid-19 and your pets

coronavirus and pets

Click here for downloadable PDF:  How to Protect yourself and your pets from Covid-19

Aren’t there canine coronaviruses? 

Yes. But this novel strain (covid-19) is not related to any of the canine coronaviruses.

  • Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people.
  • If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
  • It is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
  • The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive actions is key.  As always, careful hand washing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.

What should I do to prepare for my pet’s care in the event I do become ill?

Identify another person in your household who is willing and able to care for your pet in your home should you contract COVID-19. Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared, with at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s food and any needed medications. Usually we think about emergency kits like this in terms of what might be needed for an evacuation, but it’s also good to have one prepared in the case of quarantine or self-isolation when you cannot leave your home.

Can pets serve as fomites in the spread of COVID-19?

COVID-19 appears to be primarily transmitted by contact with an infected person’s bodily secretions, such as saliva or mucus droplets in a cough or sneeze. COVID-19 might be able to be transmitted by touching a contaminated surface or object (i.e., a fomite) and then touching the mouth, nose, or possibly eyes, but this appears to be a secondary route. Smooth (non-porous) surfaces (e.g., countertops, door knobs) transmit viruses better than porous materials (e.g., paper money, pet fur), because porous, and especially fibrous, materials absorb and trap the pathogen (virus), making it harder to contract through simple touch.  Because your pet’s hair is porous and also fibrous, it is very unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 by petting or playing with your pet. However, because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals; ensure your pet is kept well groomed; and regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys.

While we are recommending these as good practices, it is important to remember there is currently no evidence that pets can spread If you are sick with COVID-19 you need to be careful to avoid transmitting it to other people. Applying some common-sense measures can help prevent that from happening. Stay at home except to get medical care and call ahead before visiting your doctor. Minimize your contact with other people, including separating yourself from other members of your household who are not ill; using a different bathroom, if available; and wearing a facemask when you are around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. Wash your hands often, especially before touching your face, and use hand sanitizer. Use a tissue if you need to cough or sneeze and dispose of that tissue in the trash. When coughing or sneezing, do so into your elbow or sleeve rather than directly at another person.

Trusted resources:

The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association – Covid-19 questions for pet owners

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)– Coronavirus and animals

WHO (World Health Organization) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

ASPCA – Coronavirus: Keeping Your Pets Safe During the COVID-19 Crisis

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Disinfectants for Use Against Covid-19

WASH YOUR HANDS * VAMPIRE SNEEZE AND COUGH INTO YOUR SLEEVE * AVOID HUGGING