Health officials across the U.S. and all over the world are on high alert due to coronavirus, COVID-19, a disease that causes flu-like symptoms in people, including mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. As a veterinarian, I have been receiving inquiries from concerned pet parents who want to know more about what the coronavirus means for their fur-babies.
I am happy to announce that at this time there is no evidence that pets can become sick. Infectious disease experts, as well as the CDC, OIE, and WHO indicate there is no evidence to suggest that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection and spread COVID-19 to humans.
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 virus. So, if you are ill with COVID-19, have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you are required to be in quarantine or isolated for some period of time and have no one to take care of your pet, make sure you have an emergency kit prepared, with at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s food and any needed medications.
Until we know more, it is still the best recommendation to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after interacting with animals.