During this very unsettling time, it is understandable that many people are concerned about the safety of their pets. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation causing panic and unnecessary worry for pet owners and I hope that I can put your mind at ease.
I’ve put together some answers for the most common questions about pets and COVID-19. I am very glad that there is no reason for concern about our pets at this time as our pets are a huge source of comfort during times of stress.
Can pets spread COVID-19 to humans?
At this time, experts believe it is very unlikely.
There is currently no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread the COVID-19 virus or that pets can become sick.
The primary source of transmission remains human-to-human contact, and the best way to reduce your risk is to practice effective hand hygiene.
Can humans infect their pets?
At this point, there is no evidence that companion animals can become sick from COVID-19.
One dog in Hong Kong showed a weak positive test result in samples from nasal and oral cavities. This is the only known instance world wide. It is thought to be from human- animal transmission as the owner was sick with COVID-19 but it is NOT cause for alarm. This dog was not sick or showing any signs of illness. Being ‘infected’ does not mean that the dog was infectious and capable of spreading the virus. There is still no indication that pets can shed the virus or get sick from the virus at this time.
Should you handle your pet if you are sick with COVID-19.
Out of caution, it is recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. So, if you are ill with COVID-19, the recommendation is that you avoid close contact with your pet such as feeding, playing and patting. Don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet. This is just a precaution!
Could a pet potentially serve as a conduit of infection between people?
It is theoretically possible that a person with COVID-19 could contaminate their pet by sneezing or coughing and then another person could touch that animal and contract the disease but veterinary experts believe that the risk of transmission this way is low. Out of caution, it is recommended that pet owners who are sick with COVID-19 take precautionary steps to limit close contact with their pets.
Please remember, the primary source of transmission remains human- human contact.
Can I walk my dog while social distancing?
Yes, you may still leave the house to walk your dog provided you stay in unpopulated areas away from busy places. You must follow social distancing rule. Keep your dog on a leash around others and public places, Avoid dog parks where people congregate together.
How do I plan for pets in case I do get Ill?
It is important to always have a plan for your pets just in case you get ill. Discuss with family and friends who could look after your pets. Research boarding kennels if necessary. Your vet may also offer boarding.
Make sure your pet's vaccines, worming and flea control are up to date. Document and buy any medications your pet may need. Make sure microchip details are up to date and that your pet is wearing an ID tag.
- Make sure you have
* A crate for transport
* Food supplies for 2 weeks
* Medical supplies
* Poo bags
* Kitty litter for cats
Hoping you all stay well and safe – please keep up the social distancing and hand hygiene and help flatten the curve!
** I have collated this information from the latest recommendations provided by the World Health Organisation, Australian Veterinary Association and University Of Illinois College of Veterinary medicine. Please only take your information from credible sources such as these.