Pets and COVID-19: What you need to know
by Sandra Krug, RRT, ARNP, CRNA
About the coronavirus and COVID-19:
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels, and bats. Some coronaviruses, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals and do not infect humans. Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of COVID-19. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person to person. The coronavirus most similar to the virus causing COVID-19 is the one that causes SARS. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 or that they might be a source of infection in the United States. Here is what you need to know about pets and COVID-19.
How to 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 is always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.
- 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.
Common questions about COVID-19 and animals:
Can I get COVID-19 from my pets or other animals?
There is no reason at this time to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States. Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it is always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene. For more information on the many benefits of pet ownership, as well as staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.
Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), just like you would around other people. Although there have not been 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 new coronavirus. 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. If you are sick with COVID-19, 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 pets.
- 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 become able to infect people, but this is rare.
- We do not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.
- We do not have evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products imported pose a risk for spreading the 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States.
General Recommendations for Routine Cleaning and Disinfection of Households
Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.