Pets are family. And as communities respond to the respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important to have plans for your pets as well as yourself. In order to keep families together, we encourage you to include your pets in the plans you make in response to this emerging situation.
How is AHS preparing for COVID-19?
Animal Humane Society is taking all the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of the animals in our care, our staff and volunteers, and the community we serve.
Can I catch the virus from my pet or vice versa?
At this time, there is no evidence dogs, cats, or other household pets can spread COVID-19. To date, there have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming infected with COVID-19 in the U.S.
The CDC has issued advisories saying there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the virus, and “there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.”
However, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with animals.
What happens to my pet if I get sick?
Keep your pet home with you, avoid close contact, and follow good hygiene.
The CDC is recommending that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit their contact with pets and other animals, just as they would restrict contact with other household members. This conservative approach helps protect pets and other animals.
When possible, have another member of your household 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. The virus can live for hours on many surfaces, including your pet's fur.
How can I prepare now in case I get sick?
It is important to have a plan in place for all members of your household to respond to any emergency, including illness. Ensure that you have necessary pet items on hand ahead of time, including a two-week supply of pet food and prescription or non-prescription medications.
In addition to preparations typically recommended for any natural disaster threat, put a plan in place if you become ill and need to be hospitalized:
- Identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if you are hospitalized.
- Have crates, food and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets.
- Keep all animal vaccines up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary.
- Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions. Including the prescription from your veterinarian is also helpful.
- Ensure that your pets are wearing a collar and ID tag.
How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?
The CDC says the best way to prevent COVID-19 and other viruses from spreading is by following everyday preventative behaviors. Follow these three simple steps to reduce risk of transmission:
- Wash your hands frequently. Here’s a helpful CDC handwashing guide.
- Stay home when sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we encourage you to regularly consult the websites for the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has also created a helpful webpage with more information about COVID-19 and its impact on companion animals.
As always, contact your veterinarian and your physician if you suspect that you or your pet has been exposed to the virus.