While experts are still learning about the virus spreading from people to animals, veterinary experts agree there is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease to people, despite recent news that two cats were found to be positive for coronavirus in New York.
“There is no reason to be concerned about your pet giving you COVID-19 as there have been no reported cases of it spreading from pet to person,” said Dr. Erin Katribe, medical director of Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org), a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. “Instead, it is important to practice social distancing and create a plan for the continued maintenance of the pets in your care if you’re unable to leave the house, too sick to function at home or become hospitalized.”
Best Friends Animal Society has assembled a Pet Preparedness Plan, available in English and Spanish, to help pet parents ensure that they have the resources, supplies and plans in place in the event of illness. Best Friends also offers remote access to veterinary consultation services through their Vet Access app.
Specific recommendations from the CDC state that while a person infected with COVID-19 is symptomatic, they should:
- Maintain separation from household animals as they would with other household members
- Avoid direct contact with pets, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sleeping in the same location and sharing food
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals should be permitted to remain with their handlers. If possible, a household member should be designated to care for pets in the home and should follow standard hand-washing practices before and after interacting with the household animal.
If a person with COVID-19 must care for pets, they should ensure they wash their hands before and after caring for pets.