Can Pets Get Coronavirus? What You Need To Know

As the world still fights the coronavirus pandemic, and new variations of the disease are announced, you may be wondering whether this puts your pet at risk.

Even though the UK is coming out of the other side, it is said that we will have to live with COVID for years to come.

Could our cute and furry companions really ever become infected? Do they need to stay away from strangers, and do we need to be worried if they sneeze or are having an off day?

It’s an understandable worry for pet owners everywhere. But before you panic and call the vet, make sure you’ve clued yourself up on everything we know about the coronavirus and animals so far…

Pets and COVID: Important things to know

can pets get covid 19

Can animals get coronavirus?

The Center for Disease Control And Prevention has said:

  • The risk of animals spreading COVID to people is low
  • The virus can spread from people to animals during close contact
  • More studies are needed to understand how animals could be affected by COVID
  • People with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals

Just because an animal does not test positive for coronavirus does not mean that they can’t still pass the virus on through their fur or accessories, if someone carrying the virus spread it through contact.

So you should still be taking basic precautions such as washing your hands before and after handling your animal, regularly washing their accessories and disinfecting leads if handled by anyone else.

Simple acts of hygiene are always going to be critical to prevent the spread of infection, and so it’s the easiest way to keep you and your pet safe until more is known.

Animals in zoos, as well as mink and wild deer in the USA, have been found to have COVID. So while pets seem to have avoided it, other animals have indeed contracted the virus.

Can I catch coronavirus from my pet?

There is no evidence that pets can be infected with the virus, so you will only be able to contract coronavirus through coming into contact with items on which the virus is living.

COVID is still most common through human to human transmission.

What precautions should pet owners take with COVID-19?

Despite evidence suggesting pets are unaffected by the virus, health organisations are still encouraging everyone to maintain good hygiene practices around animals until they fully understand the virus.

However, animals and humans sharing diseases is not a totally rare concept. So as a precaution, those who think they have or have been confirmed to have the virus should limit contact with their pet until more is known.

When handling and caring for animals you should always wash your hands before and after contacting them and avoid sharing food, kissing and being licked by a pet.

If self-quarantining, perhaps have another person take care of your pet while you recover or wear a mask when interacting with them.

how to prevent coronavirus in pets

Coronavirus and your pet: FAQs

Can my pet stay with me in quarantine?

Given that animals can’t carry the virus, it should be absolutely fine to keep them in your company during self-isolation, but the general advice is to limit your contact with them until more is known.


Does my pet need to wear a mask?

No. NEVER allow a pet to wear a mask. A mask isn’t going to be particularly pleasant for your pet, and might even affect their breathing. It’s definitely not a necessary precaution to take.

Can dogs get coronavirus?

While there’s still no evidence pets can carry or contract the virus, worries around this issue likely arose due to the strange case of a canine who tested ‘weakly positive’ for coronavirus.

The dog tested positive in Hong Kong and had been taken in for evaluation by the city’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department on February 26th 2020, shortly after it’s owner was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Currently, this is the only known case of an animal displaying any signs of the virus in their system, and the dog was quarantined in Hong Kong as it awaited further testing.

Naturally, this news led dog owners everywhere to panic that their own pup will be susceptible to the outbreak.

can dogs get covid-19

Prof Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham told the BBC that it is important to “differentiate between real infection and just detecting the presence of the virus”.

This is because the dog in question had such low levels of the coronavirus in its system that it’s believed tests may have simply been displaying signs of having been in contact with it’s suffering owner, rather than being actively infected and contagious.

Speaking about the level of infection in the dog, Ball added: “We need to find out more, but we don’t need to panic – I doubt it could spread to another dog or a human because of the low levels.”

The most important thing to remember if you’re worried is that this dog showed no symptoms of the disease, it’s unlikely it was actually infected.

How do I take my dogs for a walk if I am isolating?

In the UK, it is no longer guidance to self-isolate if you have a positive test. However, we understand people are still being cautious

The recommended advice is to have a friend or dog walker do it for you.

Can cats get coronavirus?

Despite there being only one known case of the disease in a dog, there has been no evidence so far to suggest a cat has ever been infected with or carried COVID-19.

However, advice remains the same as regards to hygiene and handwashing, with also emphasis placed on keeping cat’s food and litter trays clean and free from bacteria.