Coronavirus & Pets: A Vet Tells Us What Pet Parents Should Know About COVID-19

Middle aged male and femal vets examining Golden retriever puppy. The dog looks frightened and sad but she's just an actor here, otherwise completely healthy. Low angle view.

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Communities around the world are doing their part to slow the spread of coronavirus from human to human, but many pet owners are wondering if their pets are safe from COVID-19.

With all the misinformation out there, pet parents need to rely on facts from the experts more than ever.

DogTime had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Dana Varble, Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of North American Veterinary Community, or NAVC, about what pet owners should know about the coronavirus in regards to their beloved pets.

Can Your Pet Get Coronavirus?

Allow yourself a sigh of relief here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there has been “no evidence” that suggests “companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.”

I asked Dr. Varble for more information.

DOGTIME: Are pets at risk of catching the coronavirus? And can pets spread coronavirus to people?

DR. VARBLE: Although pets can spread infectious diseases, as of now there is no cause for alarm.

It’s very unlikely that household pets like dogs or cats will transmit this coronavirus to people, and there is no evidence at this point that dogs or cats will become ill from this disease.

What Should Pet Parents Be Doing Right Now?

Young woman plays with Goldendoodle puppy while she washes dishes at home in kitchen

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Like health experts have suggested to humans, Dr. Varble also says that practicing good hygiene is key to keeping you and your furry family members safe. And to some, this level of good hygiene might be a little more intense than we’re used to, like not letting our pups or kitties give us kisses on the face.

Here’s what Dr. Varble had to say.

DOGTIME: What are the best ways to make sure humans and pets stay safe with the COVID-19 epidemic?

DR VARBLE: As always, it is important for pet owners to exercise good hygiene around animals. That means wash your hands regularly and, as much as we love their kisses, let’s not do it on the face.

We should be washing our hands after touching, feeding, or cleaning up after our pets.

How Can Pet Parents Prepare For The Future?

As pet parents, we need to have an emergency plan that includes our animals. Dr. Varble suggests having a two-week supply of necessary items. She also suggests having all of your pet’s paperwork in order in case of emergency.

Here’s Dr. Varble’s advice.

DOGTIME: What can we do to prepare for our pets not only in the COVID-19 scare, but in possible future epidemic scenarios?

DR. VARBLE: As pet owners, it is imperative that we always have an emergency plan in place at all times. Always make sure you have a two-week supply of necessary items, including, but not limited to, food, litter, and medications.

It is also a good idea to make sure our pets’ medical records and vaccinations are up to date in the event you need to board your pet or they need to go with a relative for care.

As always, if your pet appears to be ill, seek the advice of your veterinarian.

Our thanks to Dr. Varble! Her last point is especially important. No matter what, if your pet falls ill, be sure to contact your veterinarian. Your city or state might have shelter-in-place or caps on how many people can be in a public place at once, so check in with your vet to see what their protocol is before stopping in.

Are you taking any extra precautions with your pets during this pandemic? How else should other pet parents prepare? Let us know in the comments below!