What you need to know

A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reported external icon to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.

Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.

It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.

Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.

If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Corona viruses are a large family of viruses. Some corona viruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels, and bats. Some corona viruses, such as canine and feline corona viruses, infect only animals and do not infect humans.

Risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to pets

We are still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reported external icon to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.

Infected pets might get sick or they might not have any symptoms. Of the pets that have gotten sick, most only had mild illness and fully recovered.

What to do if you own pets are sick?

Dog walker strides with his pet on leash while walking at street pavement

Until we know more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.

Because there is a small risk that people with COVID-19 could spread the virus to animals, recommends that pet owners limit their pet’s interaction with people outside their household.

Keep cats indoors when possible and do not let them roam freely outside.

Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.

Avoid public places where a large number of people gather.

Do not put face coverings on pets. Covering a pet’s face could harm them.

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 any other products not approved for animal use.

Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.

Protect pets if you are sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with people. Until we know more about this virus, people sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals.

When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.

Avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food, and sleeping in the same bed.

If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.

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