COVID-19 and our animals: an update

It has been several months since we last provided information regarding COVID-19 and animals. Unfortunately people around the world are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic; we hope that your human and furry family have been keeping safe and well during this challenging year.  

There have been a few reports circulating the news and social media about animals being infected with COVID-19. We understand that these reports are concerning, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would like to remind us that these reports are very rare. All infected animals had close, prolonged contact with a person infected with COVID-19 and usually lived in the same house with them. The CDC states that the risk of pets spreading COVID-19 to people is low 

There is a risk that people infected with COVID-19 could spread the disease to their pets. If you are confirmed to have COVID-19, have had close contact which someone who is, or you are feeling unwell – it is best to limit your contact with your pets.  

How can you do this? 

  • Avoid close contact with your pet by not allowing them to lick you, kiss you, share your food or sleep in your bed 
  • Ask someone else to help care for your pets while you are sick or while you are in self-quarantine 
  • If you must care for your animals while you are sick or are in self-quarantine, wear a face mask while you are around them  

And, as always, it is important to wash your hands with soap and water before and after interacting with your animals, including when you feed them, pat them, touch their food or water bowls or touch their toys. You can watch a video on hand washing here.

If you would like to further protect your pet from COVID-19, you can: 

  • Keep cats indoors to prevent free roaming and contact with other people and animals  
  • Maintain social distancing when walking your dog – use a lead and keep 1.5m from others 
  • Avoid public places where lots of people gather  

Remember, do not use any disinfectants on pets e.g. hand sanitiser, alcohol or other chemicals; you should only use pet shampoos to wash your animals and keep to your usual washing routine. There is no need to wash your pets every time they have been outside, as overuse of shampoos can be harmful to their skin.  

Please, do not put face coverings on your pets.  

For more information about COVID-19 and your animals, you can read advice from the CDC here. 

If you are concerned about your pet, call your veterinarian or AMRRIC. 

Frances Grant
Author: Frances Grant