COVID-19 and your pets - what you need to know
Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Many pet owners are concerned that they need to get rid of their pets due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. News articles regarding a dog testing positive for coronavirus have set off alarm bells for many pet parents. So can our dogs or cats get us sick, or can we get them sick with COVID-19? Do we need to take extra precautions or even get rid of our pets? Read on for more information.
Coronaviruses are generally species-specific, meaning each virus only infects one species. This is true with the virus that causes COVID-19 - there is no evidence that it can infect our pets, and no evidence that they can transmit it to us. Dogs and cats have their own coronaviruses, but these do not cause illness in people. See the CDC’s website on animals and coronavirus for more information.
It is possible for our pets to be “fomites” for the coronavirus. This means they can carry it in their fur and someone else who touches the pet can become infected. If you become ill and have someone else looking after your pet, be sure they take appropriate precautions and bathe the pet before it enters their home.
There are other diseases that are “zoonotic”, meaning they can spread from our pets to us, or vice versa. Examples include rabies, leptospirosis, and parasites like hookworms and roundworms. For this reason, it is always best to use good hygiene around pets with regular hand-washing, especially with children in the home.
It is always best to have an emergency preparedness plan for your family, including your pets. This includes having a 2 to 3-week supply of their food and medication, litter, bedding, or other supplies. Check out the CDC’s Pet Safety in Emergencies for more information.
If you feel your pet is exhibiting signs of coronavirus, it is most likely some other unrelated illness. Be sure to give us a call so we can examine your pet and determine the best course of treatment. And don’t forget to wash your hands!