If you have pets, you may have wondered whether or not your cat or dog can catch COVID-19 and what you should do if your companion seems to be displaying coronavirus symptoms. Here, our Avon veterinary team explains current understandings of cats, dogs and COVID symptoms.
Coronavirus & Animals
COVID-19 is just one of many different kinds of coronaviruses. While some members of this family cause cold or flu-like symptoms in people, others can cause illness in animals. It's important to note that some coronaviruses can only infect animals and can't impact people at all.
Do dogs and cats spread COVID-19?
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is capable of spreading from people to pets they live in close contact with. However, the risk of cats or dogs spread this illness to people is very low. There is no evidence that it can be spread to people from the fur, skin or hair of animals.
Never use any chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, or other surface cleaners on your pet. Speak to your vet to learn more about appropriate products for cleaning or bathing your dog or cat.
How can I prevent my pet from getting sick if I have COVID-19?
While there is little better than snuggling up with your cat or dog when you are feeling unwell, the best approach for preventing COVID-19 in pets is to avoid contact with them as much as possible when you or a family member are ill with COVID-19. Avoid sleeping in the same bed with your companion, as well as patting or snuggling them.
What should I do if I think my cat or dog has COVID?
Just like in people, pets who are infected with COVID may be asymptomatic. In cases where symptoms have been recorded in dogs or cat, they have been mild. Severe illness caused by COVID-19 in pets is very rare.
Cats and COVID-19 symptoms are much the same as dogs and COVID-19 symptoms when they occur. The most common symptoms of COVID in pets include:
- Eye discharge
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
- Lack of energy or sluggishness
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID please do not visit your veterinary clinic. If your pet is exhibiting any of the COVID symptoms listed above simply call your vet's office for advice or for a telephone appointment. While these are common signs of COVID-19 in pets, these symptoms are also common to many other conditions seen in dogs and cats.
What should I do if my dog or cat tests positive for COVID-19?
If your pet has tested positive for COVID-19, it's a good idea to isolate them in your home by restricting what rooms or spaces they can enter. Ensure they have a comfy place to sleep and plenty of clean water and food within easy reach. Your vet will have more detailed instructions for you about how to best care for a pet that is sick with COVID-19.
Do not allow cats with COVID-19 outdoors to roam. Cats with COVID should be kept indoors until your vet gives your feline friend the all-clear.
If while isolated, you feel that your pet's symptoms are becoming more severe, call your vet for further instructions.
When can my pet go back to normal life?
Generally speaking, pets can return to their normal activities and habits if they haven't shown any symptoms for at least 72 hours without medications or veterinary care. If it's been at least 14 days since their last positive COVID-19 test, they are also okay to return to their normal routines.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.