Is Your Pet at Risk for COVID-19?

By Renee Castro
girl with mask and black and white dog

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. For the vast majority of the year, we have stayed inside and found every way possible to keep ourselves and our families safe. Eventually, the same questions rose for our household pets, can they contract COVID and how can we keep them safe?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a small number of pets across the world, including dogs and cats, have been reported to be infected with the virus. Therefore, yes, it is possible that your pet could contract the virus, but it is a very small chance. According to research, here’s what you should know about the correlation between COVID-19 and your pet.

Can my pet get COVID-19?

“Yes, however, it is a very low probability that they will contract COVID-19. The small number of pets worldwide that have tested positive have been in close contact with a person infected with the virus. Cats and ferrets appear to be more susceptible than dogs,” said Dr. Amy Sone, Clinical Ast. Professor at UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19 and have a pet at home?

“If you are not the only caregiver for the animal in the house, isolate yourself from the pet as you would from others in the household. If you are

the only caregiver for your pet, plan to use good hygiene practices. Wear a mask and wash your hands when interacting with your pet,” said Dr. Stone, D.V.M, Ph. D.

Is it possible to contact COVID-19 from my pet?

“There is no evidence that the virus can spread to people from the skin, fur or hair of pets. Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or other products, such as hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes or other industrial or surface cleaners. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about appropriate products for bathing or cleaning your pet,” according to the CDC.

Are there any warning symptoms for pets with COVID-19? DO they look or act a certain way?

“Infected pets might get sick; however, many do not exhibit any clinical signs or symptoms. Of the pets that have gotten sick, most have had mild clinical signs and recovered completely,” said Dr. Stone, D.V.M, Ph. D.

While it is possible your pet could contract the virus, there is a very small chance of them getting sick or gravely ill. That being said, if you happen to test positive for COVID-19, maintain good hygiene and keep a mask on around your pet to keep your furry friend safe.