Can My Pet Catch COVID-19?

It’s safe to say that COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways. Whether you know someone who’s contracted coronavirus, you’ve been working from home, or one of your favorite events has been canceled, no one has been left untouched. This includes the beloved pets in our lives.


Since the initial spread of COVID-19, experts and pet owners alike have been asking the question, “can pets contract COVID-19?” The more we have learned about this version of coronavirus, the more answers we can offer to those concerned about their pets.


Can pets catch COVID-19 from humans?

The short answer to this question is: yes, but there’s more to it than just that. According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, there have been reports of certain species of animals becoming infected with COVID-19 after interacting with an infected human. Cats, dogs, and other types of small household pets have tested positive this year. 


As a pet owner, this is an alarming fact, but rest assured that a very small number of pets have tested positive around the world. There are also some key things to keep in mind about how it affects our pets, and some precautions we can take to prevent our pets from contracting COVID-19.


If my pet tests positive for COVID-19, what should I expect?

If your pet contracts COVID-19, there a few things you should keep in mind:


    1. What species is your pet?
      • If you’re worried about your pet contracting COVID-19, keep in mind that some pets seem to be more susceptible than others. While a few different animal species have tested positive for this strain of coronavirus, cats, ferrets, and hamsters have shown a greater probability of being affected by symptoms. Dogs may test positive but typically aren’t affected by symptoms. 
    2. Are they showing any symptoms

      • If your pet’s test results for COVID-19 are positive, observe their behavior. Do they seem to be experiencing issues they don’t usually experience? Dogs may not be affected by symptoms of COVID-19 and still test positive, but if you own a cat or smaller pet, take note of any abnormal behavior. Respiratory and gastrointestinal issues are the most common symptoms. All of the pets who have been affected by symptoms have been able to recover easily at home, but it’s still important to make sure your pet gets on a treatment plan with your veterinarian as soon as they begin to experience symptoms.


If your pet does test positive, whether they show signs of dealing with physical symptoms or not, it’s important to keep them isolated from other pets until they’ve recovered. It does appear there’s a chance that cats, ferrets, and hamsters can pass COVID-19 to other animals of their species. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely, and don’t try to treat your pet using remedies for humans. You shouldn’t put a face mask on your pet or try to disinfect them with chemical solutions or hydrogen peroxide.


According to the CDC, it’s best to consider isolating your pet that’s tested positive for COVID-19 the same way you would behave. While it’s not likely that your pet will transmit COVID-19 to a human, it’s still best to limit interactions your pet has with humans and other animals. The best way to do this is by isolating them in a designated area.


How do I keep my pet from getting COVID-19?

Remember, if your pet tests positive for COVID-19, they’ve most likely contracted it from a human. Just like it’s important for us to practice social distancing at this time, the same is true for our pets. Below are some practical ways that we can keep our pets safe during this pandemic:


  • Limit interaction between your pet and humans outside of your home as much as possible.
  • Keep your cats indoors and away from other humans and cats.
  • Avoid public places with your dog, especially dog parks.
  • If you take your pet on a walk, keep them leashed and away from other people and animals.


Basic precautions like these can help keep our furry friends healthy and safe. But if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, some extra precautions should be taken. When possible you should isolate completely away from your pet. If you have a healthy family member or roommate, it’s best for them to care for your pet while you recover. However, if you have to care for your pet while infected with COVID-19, try to follow the following rules:


  • Wear a face mask while interacting with your pet.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before, and after interacting with your pet.
  • Avoid all unnecessary contact with your pet while infected with COVID-19.

Can COVID-19 affect my pets in other ways?

COVID-19 has changed life for everyone. We wear masks in public places, vacations have been affected, businesses have had to adjust how they interact with their customers, employees have begun working from home, and there’s a chance it could be this way for the foreseeable future.


Not only is there the chance of physically contracting and battling COVID-19, but all of these sudden changes from a global pandemic have a real effect on our mental health —even for our pets. 


One of our most recent blog posts discusses the challenges some pet owners may experience with their pets as they return to the ‘new normal.’ Your pet has probably gotten used to having you around if you’ve been spending more time at home. It’s important to keep this in mind as you transition to returning to the office or going out of town for any reason.


In summary, while it is unlikely for your pet to catch COVID-19, that have been reports of common household pets testing positive. But that isn’t a death sentence for your pet. Animals who have shown signs of experiencing negative symptoms have made full recoveries at home with their owner, under the supervision of their veterinarian. It’s important to act smart and safe to prevent your pet from contracting coronavirus, but the likelihood of them contracting and suffering from COVID-19 is small.


One of the best ways you can ensure your pet is prepared for any illness is through routine, preventative health care. At PetWellClinic we offer convenient, affordable packages and services for dogs and cats that help them live long and happy lives. If you’re interested in bringing your pet to PetWellClinic, there’s no need to make an appointment! Stop by and visit one of our locations when it’s most convenient for you.

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