Coronavirus, now present on every continent except Antarctica, has infected nearly 90,000 people globally and left health officials scrambling to prevent the virus from morphing into a full-blown pandemic, while trying to also calm global worry. As that worry bubbles and spews, however, so do theories about the virus’ spread. One of those dangerous theories touches on our beloved pets who some claim can spread coronavirus. Sadly, fearmongering of that nature has led to the needless deaths of pets in China.
Following allegations that Chinese officials are paying door-to-door visits to villagers to cull their pets, we at American Humane want to stress that at this time there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19. To date, the CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19.
On February 28, the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department reported a pet dog had contact with a person infected with COVID-19 and then tested “weak positive to COVID-19” through nose and mouth samples. While the virus is staying in the respiratory system of the dog, it is not infected. This is a case of human-to-animal transmission and means that dogs can carry low levels of the virus but don’t become sick. There’s no evidence that your cats and dogs are more likely to spread the coronavirus than your cell phone or keys. Apart from staying in the respiratory system, the disease can reside on the skin like it can on any inanimate object. Researchers do not yet know how long COVID-19 can survive on surfaces and objects.
As concerns continue to mount, we hope to reassure you that your pet is not a threat. Your pet needs your protection and love during any disaster. So, be sure your pet is included in disaster preparedness plans and always have a two-week supply of food, water and medications on hand for each animal. As always, we suggest you continue best safety practices by washing your hands with soap and water after contact with all animals – four legged or not.
The CDC will continue to update the public on any new research or findings related to animals and COVID-19. However, there is no reason to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection.
To stay up to date on the most recent information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#2019-nCoV-and-animals.