Humane Society: Pets won’t give you coronavirus, but you might give it to them

As concern continues to climb over the novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19, the Human Society of Greater Dayton wants to reassure everyone that your pets will not give you the virus.

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In a release, the Humane Society spelled out in bold type, “Infectious disease experts, as well as the CDC, OIE, and WHO indicate there is no evidence to suggest that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection, including spreading COVID-19 to people.”

It also said anyone wanting more information on how pets are affected by the coronavirus should visit its website at

Brian Weltge, President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton wrote, “In a time of much uncertainty, we do not want pet owners to abandon animals in fear of getting the COVID-19 virus from them. All health organizations and veterinary organizations confirmed that there is no threat of getting the virus from your dogs, cats or other pets. Although they do continue to monitor and evaluate this, at this point interaction with your pets is fine.”

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The release also included recommendations for pet owners from Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH. These include:

  • Practice normal preventative actions to stay healthy around your pets. At this point there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the coronavirus.
  • Identify backup caretakers for pets if you are confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask and limit interaction with pets and other animals if you are confirmed to have the coronavirus and identified by public health officials as requiring home care and isolation.
  • Use practical measures to protect yourself, your family and your pets from this or any other contagious illness.
  • Vaccinate your pets to protect them from other diseases.

The American Veterinary Medical Association still recommends that you limit contact with animals if you are confirmed to have the coronavirus.

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So, if you are tested positive for the disease, have another member of the household take care of walking, feeding and playing with your pet. If it is a service animal, or you have to take care of your pet yourself, wear a facemask.

Either way, don’t share food, kiss or hug them, and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet or service animal. You also should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in the home.

These recommendations are just a precaution, though. The AVMA stressed that although they do recommend these things, there is still no evidence that pets can spread the coronavirus to other animals or people.

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However, the AVMA also said that if you or someone in your household are confirmed to have COVID-19 and your pet does become ill, you should talk with the public health official that is working with the ill person. That official can consult with a public health veterinarian who can assist your vet to evaluate your pet.

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