Help! Can my pet get COVID-19?

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By Terri Nighswonger
As the world learns more about COVID-19, individuals are taking precautions to keep themselves and their families safe. What about keeping our pets safe?

According to the CDC website, it appears that the spread of the virus from animals to people and vice versa is fairly low. So far there have been a few cats and dogs, and a tiger, that have contracted the virus.

You can take precautions to keep your pets safe, much the same as you would for yourself.

• Keep your pets away from others that are not in your household.
• Keep cats indoors when possible.
• Avoid places such as dog parks where people and dogs gather in groups.
• Maintain six-foot social distancing from others when you walk your dog.

While the CDC points out that the chances are slim that your pet will get the virus from you, if you do get sick you might consider having someone else take care of your pet for the duration of your illness. Washing hands and cleaning dog toys, bowls and surfaces will also help to keep your pets safe.

I’ve seen a number of Facebook posts that indicate some people are considering giving up their pets due to the pandemic. Please, do not consider giving up your pet during this time. Also, there are plenty of pets in shelters that need to be fostered and adopted. Consider, while you are at home, giving one of these animals a second chance.

At this time there is no routine testing of pets for COVID-19. If your pet is sick, see your veterinarian.

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Ann
26 days ago

Just to reinforce this. A good friend is a dog behaviorist, and gets this question a lot, so she did the research.

The only dogs and cats that have gotten the virus have been living in close quarters with multiple people who are sick at the same time. And even then, they get a very mild illness.

On the flipside, there no evidence that anyone has ever gotten the virus from their dog or cat. Just on the principle of the thing, if your dog or cat has been hanging out with someone who’s sick, you might not want to sleep with them on the bed or let them lick you, but you’re much more likely to get the virus directly from the person they’ve been hanging out with than the pet.