There’s a lot of information circulating about COVID-19 and how it impacts people and pets.
Although lots of the information is shared with good intentions, it’s important to be sure that the information you are relying on is reputable and accurate. As a veterinarian with a specialty in public health, I wanted to share the most up to date information on COVID-19 and pets and provide reliable resources that can be referred to throughout the pandemic.
At this time, there have been no reports of pets becoming ill with COVID-19 and there is no evidence that pets can spread it to humans. COVID-19 can live on surfaces. However, porous materials, like pet fur, tend to absorb and trap pathogens, like COVID-19, making it more difficult to contract through touch.
Although there have been reports of two dogs from Hong Kong testing weak positive for COVID-19, these dogs did not have symptoms (were not ill), were not infectious, and therefore could not transmit the virus to people. IDEXX Laboratories, a leading veterinary diagnostic company, has tested thousands of dog and cat specimens and have had no positives.
Although there is no evidence at this time that pets can spread COVID-19 to humans, all animals can carry germs that can make people sick. Here are some great guidelines from the CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People site. These guidelines should always be practiced when around pets or animals. Check out the flyer below for more details.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
- Take pets to the veterinarian regularly and talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
Out of an abundance of caution, if you are ill with COVID-19 you should restrict contact with pets and other animals as well as people. Whenever possible, have another member of your household take care of feeding and caring for any animals, including pets. If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, including pets, wear a cloth facemask. Do not share food, kiss, or hug them and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
For accurate and up to date information on COVID-19 and our pets I recommend referring to the following resources:
The American Veterinary Medical Association’s COVID-19 page
CDC’s COVID-19 and Animal FAQs
CDC’s COVID-19 If You Have Animals Page
I hope that despite the challenges and changes of the COVID-19 pandemic that you are spending quality time with your four-legged family. There are so many benefits to having pets and their presence can greatly improve our mental and physical health during this time.
-Dr. Heather Lane
VCAS Founder & Executive Director