Can I Get or Give COVID-19 to My Pet

by | Apr 18, 2020 | COVID-19

One of our specialties at Big Ben Cleaning is taking care of environments where household pets are present. A clean environment is not our only concern with our whiskered companions, we must also think of keeping them safe as well as the rest of the household.

There are many questions on how COVID-19 is spread. We know that like many other viruses, transmission is usually through airborne water droplets and touch of common surfaces so keeping environments clean is one of the best ways to protect against infection. But what about other sources of transmission that are not so obvious, like your pet. The evidence so far is a bit foggy.

As of this time, there is no evidence to suggest that your pet can be a transmitter of the virus to humans, however, there is some evidence to suggest that it can be spread through the species such as cat to cat. It should be noted that our understanding of this virus is rapidly changing so a degree of caution and vigilance should be exercised.

What we know so far is that animals can indeed carry the virus. On April 5, it was widely reported that a tiger at the Bronx zoo in New York tested positive for the virus. Reports suggest that a few animals (cats in particular) have COVID-19 like symptoms although it is unclear if it is from COVID-19 or another source and none of the other animals were tested for the virus. There have been other reported cases where dogs and cats have tested positive. This does not mean that animals can contract a COVID-19 infection as a result of testing positive however there has been little research done on the subject. It is also worth noting that there is no direct evidence of animal to human transfers to date.

The CDC has put forward some recommendations regarding companion animals that err on the side of safety but also contain some good common-sense recommendations that are worth following. Their guidelines offer a glimpse into safe handling practices in case animal transmission does is found to be possible.

Anyone that  is self-isolation or exhibiting symptoms,” Specifically, while a person infected with COVID-19 is symptomatic, they should maintain separation from household animals as they would with other household members, and avoid direct contact with pets, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sleeping in the same location, and sharing food.”*

For anyone who has found to test positive for COVID-19 that has to care for animals, they wash before and after caring for the animal. Someone who has disabilities that require service animals, they can still handle their animals however it is recommended that it is possible they get a family member to care for them which would include hand washing before and after either handling or caring for the animal.

Finally, if you have to take a sick animal to the veterinarian and someone in the household is in self-isolation or tested positive for COVID-19, the Veterinarian should be informed before going to their place of business so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

Our furry friends can are a great source of comfort in these uncertain times and exercising a little caution in the face of many unknowns will ensure that you are both healthy once the pandemic ends.