Can pets spread COVID-19?

by Amy Cooper
Pets and COVID-19

Welcome to part two of the mini COVID-19 series! In this post I will be discussing if people can catch COVID-19 from pets, if pets can catch COVID-19 from people and if pets can spread COVID-19 from person to person. 

Can pets catch the virus from people?

According to the CDC very occasionally dogs, cats and other pets can catch COVID-19 from people. So, what can you do to reduce your pets’ chance of catching COVID-19? Well the answer is very similar to what we are already doing to protect ourselves. Keep a minimum of six feet from other people and be sensible! The main difference between keeping your pet safe and keeping yourself safe is that you should never put a mask on your pet or use any kind of disinfectant on them. In the unlikely event that your pet does catch COVID-19 don’t worry! As most pets that caught COVID-19 only had mild symptoms and made a full recovery. 

Can people catch the virus from pets?

In the rare event that your pet did catch COVID-19, unless it’s a ferret, the chances of your pet spreading COVID-19 to a person are minuscule (, 2021). If you own a ferret and it is suspected to have COVID-19, or your household is isolating. Your ferret should be isolated for 21 days (, 2021). This is based on the evidence from mink infections. 

Can pets spread the virus between people

According to the CDC there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread via the skin, fur or hair of pets. However, since it is well known that COVID-19 can survive on different surfaces many people still take precautions. If you would like to take extra precautions, there are several very easy steps you can take. Firstly, always wash or sanitize your hands after touching another person’s pet. You could also avoid putting your face near any pets but, never wash your pet with chemical disinfectants! This could cause serious damage to your pet. 

Overall, can pets spread COVID-19?

The simple answer is yes. But it is very rare! So, there is no need to worry too much about pets spreading the virus. Although, that being said it won’t hurt to take extra precautions. Like washing or sanitizing your hands after touching another person’s pet, maintaining social distancing and avoid contact with your face and a pet.

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