What You Need to Know About Pets and COVID-19
2. Can pets get COVID?
There is some concern that COVID may spread from people to pets. There have been a small number of animals outside of the US that have tested positive for COVID-19. Recently, a tiger at the Bronx zoo test became the first animal in the US to test positive. All of the companion animals had been in close contact with one or more people infected with COVID-19. The tiger is believed to have been exposed by a zookeeper infected with COVID-19. More studies are needed to determine how susceptible animals are to COVID-19. According to the CDC, there are currently no reports of companion animals testing positive for COVID in the US.
3. What precautions do pet parents need to take with their pets if they are sick?
The CDC and the US Dept of Agriculture recommend that out of an abundance of caution, people diagnosed with COVID-19 or showing signs of COVID-19 should limit contact with their pets. This is the same advice they should follow to decrease the risk of exposing family members to COVID. If possible, consider asking another family member or a friend to care for your pets while you are sick.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are learning more about the coronavirus daily. For now, treat your pets like you would any other family member. Keep them inside (except for brief dog walks) and do not let them interact with other pets or people outside of your family.
To stay up to date on the latest news about COVID and pets go to the CDC’s website.
*****UPDATE April 22nd 2020
Two pet cats in NYC have just tested positive for COVID-19 making them the first companion animals in the US to become infected. Both cats had mild respiratory symptoms and are expected to make a full recovery. The CDC and the US Department of Agriculture emphasized the fact that there is no evidence that dogs or cats play a role in transmitting the virus to humans. The recommendation is still to treat pets like you would family members and limit contact with your pets if you are infected with COVID-19. They offered the following recommendations:
-Do not let pets interact with people or animals from other households
-Keep cats indoors if possible
-Walk your dog on a leash and stay 6 feet away from other people and animals
-Avoid dog parks or places where a large number of people and dogs may be gathered.