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How to Keep Your Dog and Cat Safe From Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Updated on March 29, 2020
Maggie Bonham profile image

Maggie Bonham, or Margaret H. Bonham, is a multiple award-winning pet author and expert. She has written more than 20 books on pets.

Your Dog and Cat Can Get Coronavirus (COVID-19) From You

Did you know your dog and cat can contract coronavirus (COVID-19) from you if you have it? So far a few pets have contracted it from their owners and tested positive. Here's how you can protect your dog and cat from the coronavirus pandemic, while still being their best friend.

Your Pet and Coronavirus

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Should I Be Concerned About COVID-19 And My Pet?

Although it appears to be rare, COVID-19 or the coronavirus is mutating to where it can infect other species besides humans. As of this writing, there are three cases of pets catching COVID-19 from their owners, which means this virus is not only young, but mutating rapidly. Although the odds for your pet catching this disease are slim right now, the potential exists for your pet to contract the disease from you, if you are infected with COVID-19.

What Are The Symptoms of COVID-19 In Pets?

Not surprisingly, the symptoms veterinarians have seen in pets mimic those symptoms of COVID-19 in humans. Infected pets show these main symptoms: diarrhea, fever, and trouble breathing. Because these symptoms are similar to other diseases, you need to bring your dog or cat to your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.

How Can I Protect My Pets From Getting COVID-19?

The following are the best ways to protect your pets from getting COVID-19:

  • Protect yourself and family members from COVID-19 by social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face, and not attending parties, conventions, and other social gatherings. Keep your home clean and sanitized so your pet won't pick up the virus on surfaces. (Be sure to use products safe for pets.)
  • Keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations so that they aren't fighting other diseases which could compromise their immune systems.
  • Keep your cat(s) inside the house or in a contained area where they cannot roam the neighborhood, and keep your dog(s) inside or in a fenced-in backyard. Although it hasn't been proven that pets can transmit COVID-19 to each other, keeping them separated from other pets will minimize the possibility of exposure.
  • Avoid dog parks for the time being. For one thing, other people who are infected may be there and may infect you and your dog. If their dogs are infected, it might put your dog at a greater risk for contracting the disease.
  • Be vigilant where you walk your dog. Avoid having him contact places where other dogs have defecated.
  • If you've been confirmed to have COVID-19 or if you suspect you have it, wear a mask to prevent accidentally spreading it in airborne droplets to your pet. Wash your hands before and after you interact with your pet, and be sure to clean the areas where your pet is likely to be with cleaners that will kill COVID-19. (Just be sure the cleaners are safe around pets. You don't want to poison your pet by trying to keep him safe!)


My dog already gets a coronavirus vaccination along with his regular shots. Does that protect him?

The coronavirus vaccine your dogs gets along with his other vaccinations protects him from a particular strain of dog coronavirus that isn't transmittable to humans. It should not protect him against COVID-19 since this is a new type of virus.

Can I get coronavirus from my pet?

Currently, no pet owner has contracted COVID-19 from their pets. Instead, the pets have contracted COVID-19 from their owners. It is extremely unlikely you could catch this virus from your pet as there has been no cases of pet-to-human transmission and no cases of pet-to-pet transmission.

Can I kiss my pet?

This one is up to you, but the experts say no. Why? Because you might be a carrier and spread coronavirus to your pet. So, show your love with play and toys, but no kissing.

Should my dog or cat wear a mask?

No, because dogs regulate their temperature with panting. Without that ability, your dog will overheat faster because a mask restricts air flow. Same holds true for cats.

What should I do if my pet gets sick?

Contact your veterinarian ASAP and see what he or she recommends. If your pet is obviously in distress, bring your pet to an emergency veterinarian. You should probably contact them ahead of time so they can make the necessary preparations and take precautions.

Should I get rid of my pets to avoid getting coronavirus?

Absolutely not. Your pets are more likely to contract COVID-19 from you than you are to contract it from them. Current information suggests you are the danger to them; not the other way around.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2020 MH Bonham


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