Mar 31, 2020 12:00 AM

Author: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


This article was updated July 22, 2020 to update new information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Worries have emerged about whether a pet can become infected and spread coronavirus, or COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a small number of pets (cats and dogs) have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people who have the virus. It appears at this time that the virus that causes CAOVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations. Based on limited information, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered low. 

Until the CDC learns more about how the virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other family members to protect them from infection. 

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.

Stay healthy around other animals

In the United States, there is no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19.  Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s 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.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
  • Be aware that children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and older adults are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry.

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