COVID-19 And Pets: What YOU Need To Be Aware Of!

covid-19 and pets

COVID-19 pandemic is undeniably taking a toll on millions of people worldwide. But off late, there have been reports of some animals being infected with the coronavirus after they came in contact with COVID-19 positive person. This has raised numerous questions on the spread of COVID-19 from animals, getting your pet tested and how to keep the pets safe during the pandemic. Although there is no clear cut evidence on the spread of the coronavirus virus from the animals to humans or vice-versa, it is always a better idea to treat pets as a family member and follow the same precautions as for humans to protect from a possible infection. Here is more on COVID-19 and pets/animals that YOU need to be aware of!

Do animals spread COVID-19?

Although it is reported that the first case of coronavirus was linked to a live animal market in the city of Wuhan, China, the virus is now spreading from one person to another (human to human transmission). The virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets such as coughing, sneezing, and close contact. There have been studies that people with an infection but no symptoms can also spread the infection. 

As of now, there is no evidence that animals play a key role in the spread of the virus. However, based on the limited information available, there is a low risk of transmission of coronavirus from animals to humans.

Can humans spread the infection to animals/pets?

According to several reports[1], a small number of pets/animals have contracted the infection after coming in close contact with a person suffering from COVID-19. However, investigation is still going on for the first case reported in New York, where a tiger was tested positive for coronavirus. 

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Can I get my pet tested for COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) guidelines[2], routine testing of the animals for COVID-19 is not recommended. So it is not possible to get your pet tested for coronavirus. However, if your pet gets sick and you suspect COVID-19, then call your vet and let them know about your concern. Opt for telemedicine instead of personally visiting your vet’s clinic, if your pet was around a COVID-19 positive person.

Do animals carry the virus on their skin or fur?

Although certain bacteria and viruses can stay on the skin or fur of animals and act as a mode of transmission of the microbes, there is no evidence that the coronavirus can spread through hair/fur or skin of pets. However, it is always a best practice to follow proper hygiene when around pets such as washing your hands before and after handling your pets and wearing a face mask while interacting with your pets.

Should I avoid pets if I am sick?

While there is no clear evidence that COVID-19 can be spread from humans to animals (although it appears so in some cases and studies are still going on), it is a good idea to avoid contact with your pets if you are sick with coronavirus. This includes sharing bed with your pet, snuggling with your pet or being kissed or licked by your pet.

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How can I protect my pet(s)?

Here are a few simple tips that can help you to protect your pet amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

– Make sure your pet(s) doesn’t go out or interact with people or other animals outside your household.

– If you are taking your dog for a walk, then make sure to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters or two-arms distance) from other people and animals.

– Avoid taking your pet(s) to parks or public places, especially to the areas with a large number of people

– Talk to your veterinarian if your pet(s) get sick or if you have any concerns about your pet(s) health.

– If you are sick, then make sure you follow quarantine at home and limit your contact with your pet (avoid your pet, if possible) for 14 days along with following other hygiene practices.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)

Recommended Reads:

AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria Answers FAQs On Coronavirus Pandemic

Novel Coronavirus: Common Myths Debunked!


1. If You Have Animals. Daily Life & Coping. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

2. COVID-19 and Animals. Frequently Asked Questions. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

3. Reducing animal-human transmission of emerging pathogens. Coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO).

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