What you need to know about COVID and pets

More than 75 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID since the start of the pandemic.

With vaccines, masks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing … there are a lot of precautions available for humans against COVID, but what about for your four-legged furry family members?

“We know that this virus can jump species,” said Vanessa Hale, PhD, an assistant professor at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

So, can you get COVID-19 from your dog or cat?

“The only case where we’ve seen, noted and recorded animal-to-human transmission is in mink,” explained Hale.

When it comes to dogs and cats, there have been no documented cases of animal to human transmission. However, there have been a few cases of humans transferring COVID to their household dog or cat. Cats were more likely to become infected than dogs.

“Currently, the center for disease control suggests that the animals that we have at our home – that we share our homes with should be treated like other human family members. So, if we are sick, we should isolate away from them as much as possible,” Hale told Ivanhoe.

Avoid kissing, petting, snuggling and sleeping in the same bed as your pet if you become infected with COVID-19. And limit your pet’s contact outside the household. However, don’t put a mask on your pet and don’t wipe or bathe them with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizers or other cleaners. And since the pets that do contract COVID have symptoms that are very mild, such as coughing, sneezing, or diarrhea, experts say it is unlikely there will be a vaccine available for dogs and cats.

The ASPCA recommends pet parents stock up on two weeks of food for their pets and a month worth of medications in case you would have to isolate due to covid-19 infection.