For Pet Parents
Can pets get the new coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aware of a very small number of pets, including dogs and cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19. Two reports of cats becoming mildly sick with COVID-19 in the United States have been reported as of April 22. There is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to people.
The first case of an animal testing positive for COVID-19 in the United States was a tiger with a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. Public health officials believe this tiger along with six other large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus. Authorities are constantly learning about the new coronavirus, but it appears it can spread from people to animals in some situations.
A pug in North Carolina has tested positive for the coronavirus, which may be the the first such case for a dog in the US. The dog, Winston, was part of a Duke University study in which a whole family in Chapel Hill, the McCleans, were tested for the virus. The mother, father, son, and pug tested positive, while the daughter, another dog and a cat tested negative, according to NBC affiliate WRAL in Raleigh.
Can pets transmit the virus between people?
It is possible that a person with COVID-19 can contaminate their pet (through sneezing or otherwise), and then another individual could touch that animal and contract the disease. Veterinary experts believe the risk for transmission would be low. However, animals living with sick individuals should be kept away from other people and animals (quarantined at home), just as people who live with sick individuals must avoid contact with others.
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What You Should Do
Your pet is at minimal risk of COVID-19 infection therefore there are no specific steps recommended at the moment to protect pets.
No. Your pet should not wear a face mask.
Face masks may not protect your pet from disease transmission and may cause other breathing difficulties.
Should I wear a face mask by my pet?
Wearing a surgical mask will not prevent anyone (human or animal) from being exposed to the virus. A mask should be used to prevent someone that is potentially infectious from spreading the virus to others via droplets through coughing, sneezing, or talking.
If I am diagnosed with Covid-19, how do I protect my pet?
Being at minimal risk of COVID-19 infection, there are no specific steps needed to protect your pet even if you are infected.
However, pets can have the virus ON THEM if they are in an environment with a large quantity of the virus and could serve to be a source of the virus for other people, including family members. Therefore, to protect other people and yourself, the CDC recommends that you restrict contact with pets if you are sick with COVID-19, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. Avoid snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must interact with your pet, wash your hands before and after, and wear a face mask.