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COVID-19 Can Infect Pets, Too—Although It’s Unlikely
Can your pet get COVID?
Can your dog, cat or other pet become infected with COVID-19? Yes, although it’s rare, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While a relative handful of pets have tested positive for COVID-19, mostly after their owners came down with it, critters typically haven’t had symptoms, and those that have shown signs have recovered fully after a mild illness.
Nevertheless, your pets should be quarantining as much as you and your human family members have, according to the CDC. You should keep your cats indoors as much as possible, even if they are normally outdoor cats, and you should avoid taking your dogs into crowded public settings when walking them.
However, while masking is recommended for humans in public settings, they are not for pets—and in fact can be harmful, the CDC says. There is also no need to use chemicals, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, wipes, or other products to clean or bathe your pets because the CDC has no reason to believe COVID-19 spreads from their hair, fur or skin to people.
If you get COVID-19, whether confirmed by a test or suspected due to symptoms—stay away from your pets just as you would your human family members. If at all feasible, your pets should be cared for by others, and you should avoid contact with our pet, the CDC recommends. If you are your pet’s sole caregiver, mask up around them and wash your hands before and after having any contact.
If you have COVID and then your pet gets it, call your veterinarian—don’t take the pet in to their office. They might want to do a telemedicine visit first, and that might be enough to help diagnose and figure out what to do next, the CDC says.
Overall, the CDC does not believe that the spread of COVID-19 has happened because of animal spread to any significant degree. But all animals can have viruses or otherwise carry germs, and the elderly and children 5 years old or younger, as well as people with weakened immune systems, are especially susceptible.
So even if neither you nor your pet is sick, practice good hygiene by washing your hands after touching your pet or their food, supplies or (especially) waste and clean up after them. Those will be good practices to carry forward even after COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic.