Pets and COVID-19: Information for Pet Parents

Faithful Friends Animal Society will remain open to the public through appointments only. Many of our amazing pets are waiting for a forever family, and they deserve that opportunity. In addition, as an animal shelter, preventing disease spread through rigorous cleaning protocols is part of our normal operations. We’re ensuring we’re diligent with those protocols across all areas of our shelters and clinics. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted of any changes.

We’re Here for You and Your Pets

An important part of our work here at Faithful Friends Animal Society is to be a trusted resource for our community. We understand the concerns and questions related to the COVID-19, or the coronavirus, and we know how important it is to consider your pets during this challenging time. This page provides information and resources to help navigate the uncertainty.

Pets & the Virus

Here is an update on COVID-19 from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association;

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA announced this week the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in two pet cats from two areas in New York state. The cats had mild respiratory illness and are the first pets in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

At this point, instances of companion animals being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 are extremely rare worldwide. Experts with the CDC and the World Organisation for Animal Health suspect these are cases of human-to-animal transmission. According to the CDC, at this time there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.

Dr. Gail Hansen, DVM, MPH of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association says, “It is critically important that pet owners keep these few positive cat cases in perspective and not make rash decisions about their pets. At this time there is no reason to think that pets can spread COVID-19 to humans. It is likely that the pets were infected by people with COVID-19. We do know that our pets provide very important and positive roles in our lives.”

Here are a few key points to consider during this time:

  • COVID-19 is spread almost exclusively, if not exclusively, person-to-person.
  • A pet owner is much more likely to transmit the virus TO their pet than to get it FROM their pet.
  • If someone’s pet is infected, they got it from a person. If the pet has been kept away from pets and people from outside the household, their infection would have come from a household family member.
  • Socially distance your pets, just like you and the rest of your family. Keep them inside with you, and when outside, keep them under control so they don’t interact with anyone else.
  • If you’re infected, limit contact with people and pets.

Pets can provide important emotional support during challenging times. The risk that they would be a source of COVID-19 in a household is exceptionally low, with some basic practices. While there are reports of people asking to surrender their pet because of fear of COVID-19, the risk posed by driving to a shelter to surrender a pet is probably much greater than the risk posed by a pet.

Planning for your pets

  • Make a plan with your family and friends that includes contingencies for caring for your pet
  • Verify that your pet’s microchip contact information is current and that your pet is wearing a current id
  • Organize your veterinary records and double-check that your pets are current on vaccinations should you need to consider boarding
  • Document all medications with dosages and instructions should you need to rely on someone to administer them
  • Keep crates ready should you need to move your pet(s)
  • Maintain a supply of essential items, such as pet food and cat litter

Tips for pets in the home

  • Treat their bedding, leashes and collars, dishes and toys in the same way you are treating other surfaces in your home. Bleach can be used to disinfect these items as it is considered safe for pets and people at the ratio of 1/3 cup bleach per one gallon of water, or two tablespoons bleach per one quart of water.
  • It is also important to bathe your pet after they have been around other people at such places as the vet, dog parks, or walking trails.
  • Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations from the CDC

Frequently Asked Questions:

This is a rapidly evolving situation.
This page was last updated on April 30, 2020.

General information about Coronavirus /COVID-19

What is Coronavirus/COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the nation’s health protection agency, defines Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 tend to experience mild to severe respiratory illness that can include fever, cough or shortness of breath. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should see their healthcare providers as early as possible for examination.

How can I protect myself from contracting Coronavirus?

The CDC says the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. As the disease continues to spread, the CDC recommends following routine preventive measures that can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus and flu, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, especially if you are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick and maintain appropriate social distance when and wherever possible.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Can the disease spread through products or packaging sourced and shipped internationally or domestically?

The CDC says there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with shipped or imported or goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

Pets and Coronavirus

Can pets contract Coronavirus/COVID-19 from humans? And vice versa?

To date, the CDC has received 2 reports of house cats becoming sick with COVID-19. It is said that pets cannot transmit COVID-19 TO humans, only humans to pets. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, the CDC always recommends washing your hands after being around animals. For more information, read the CDC’s FAQ on COVID-19 and animals. You can also learn more about staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, by visiting the CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.

Is it a good idea to stock up on pet products in case there are further production impacts?

Pet parents should always include pets in their family’s emergency preparedness planning and ensure they have enough food and product to care for pets as a general precaution for disaster preparedness.