During this crisis, it is understandable that pet owners are worried about their furry friends. While there are a very small number of pets outside of the US reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, there is no evidence that suggests pets can spread COVID-19. There is currently no cause for concern regarding the transmission of COVID-19 to your pets. However, it is still a good idea to practice proper hygiene, and keep an eye on your pet’s health. We’ve gathered some information provided by the CDC to help you better understand the risks of animals spreading COVID-19, the risks of pets getting COVID-19, and what to do if you have COVID-19 and need to care for your pet.
The key facts:
- Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others cause illness in certain types of animals.
- Coronaviruses that infect animals can sometimes be spread to people, but this is rare.
- The first case of an animal testing positive for the virus in the United States was a tiger that had a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City.
- CDC is aware of a very small number of pets outside the United States reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19.
- We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.
- Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.
Risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mostly from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States.
Risk from imported animals and animal products
CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States.
Stay healthy around animals
In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection at this time. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
- Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
Risk of people spreading COVID-19 to pets
The CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.
The CDC is aware of a very small number of pets outside the United States reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19. To date, there is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to other animals or people.
Protect pets if you are sick
If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. Although there have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help ensure both you and your animals stay healthy.
- When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick.
- Avoid contact with your pet including, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.
- If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
- Stock up on a supplies for your pet, so that you won’t run out in case you do have to isolate yourself at home or someone has to care for your pet elsewhere.
- If you pet does become ill, be sure to call your veterinarian, inform them you have COVID-19 and wait for further instructions.