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Pets at risk of COVID-19

By Sophia Lopez, April 26 2020 —

While a lot of people are stuck at home because of COVID-19, there are plenty of others who are dedicating their time to treat those with the virus and helping others prevent it.

We currently know that COVID-19 is spread by person-to-person contact, but what we don’t know for sure is if the virus can be spread by pet-to-person contact, or vice versa.

As of now, there are currently no cases of the virus being transmitted from pets to their owners. Nevertheless, it is important that we start to do the most we can in protecting ourselves, along with our pets.

Dr. Rebecca Archer, a clinical instructor of small animal medicine with UCalgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, states that dogs aren’t as easily infected compared to cats, ferrets, and hamsters.

In order to keep our pets safe, Archer suggests trying to distance yourself from your pets if you happen to be infected with the virus. Frequently washing your hands especially before and after feeding your pets will help prevent any transmission too.

Even if your animals contract the COVID-19, the few animals that studies have proven to show positive results for the virus have healed and did not suffer majorly. With this said, it is important to still take every precaution in order to limit your pets from any chance of contracting the virus.

Archer strongly advises people that putting your animal up for adoption is not the solution if you have contracted the virus. Our pets can be the best source of comfort during this stressful time, giving them up will not help the situation. 

We need to begin taking our personal prevention steps and apply them to our animals as well. Aside from protecting them from their owners who may already have the virus, not letting strangers pet them on walks, or even make contact with other animals from outside the house will help keep your pet safe from potential transmission. 

Little things can help too, such as washing your pet’s food bowls more often, or even making sure your pets aren’t neglected. Although distancing from your pets if you have the virus is helpful in stopping transmission, it is also very important that your pets are receiving attention and love.

If you have any concerns for your animals, your veterinarian is the best person to contact. For updated information regarding pets and COVID-19, please visit the following websites for The University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association. For equine specific details please visit the equine disease communication center.

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