Coronavirus and caring for your pet

23/03/2020

The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is understandably causing fear and uncertainty for many pet owners. So, we’ve answered some of the most pressing questions about caring for your pet during the pandemic.

There is no evidence that pets can be a source of infection to other animals or humans. So, we highly recommend all pet owners to keep calm and care for their pets.

Pets improve and add value to our lives – so let’s make sure we keep them, and ourselves, protected.

1. Should I avoid contact with my pets if I am sick with coronavirus (COVID-19)?

There have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, however it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals. If possible, have another member of your household, or a loved one, care for your animals while you are sick.

If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. Try to avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.

2. Can dogs get the coronavirus?

Current advice from the World Health Organisation is that there’s no evidence that pets can be a source of infection or that they can become sick from coronavirus.

Dog at vaccination drive, Brazil - World Animal Protection

3. If I have coronavirus, do I need to quarantine my pet?

There is no evidence at this time that pets can be a source of infection of coronavirus. Therefore, there is no need to quarantine your pet if you are sick. However, you should have another member of your household or a loved one care for your animals while you are sick.

If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

4. What happens with my pets if I am hospitalised?

Ask a family member, friend or neighbour to take care of your pet if you are hospitalised. Some dogs and cats may become nervous, anxious, and even aggressive if they feel unsafe at a new place, so it would be better for somebody to feed and play with them in the pet´s own home.

However, if there is a lockdown, the best thing to do is to have someone take the pet to a new temporary home where it will be better taken care of.

5. How can I walk my dog in a lockdown situation?

Dogs and cats will continue to need physical activity. Therefore, you should keep the time allotted for walking to carry out physical activity, but you should replace the walk with play if you are unable to leave the house. For example: a ball game in the backyard or, if you live in apartment, you can create new games with new toys or you can try to enrich the environment with hidden treats so that your dog does not get bored.

In the case of cats, it is important to give them vertical structures that they can climb.

There is no evidence that pets can be a source of infection to other animals or humans. So, we highly recommend all pet owners to keep calm and care for their pets.