Living With Pets During COVID-19

Living With Pets During COVID-19 - Photo 1 - Doghaus Blog

There’s no other way to put it: COVID-19 is changing our lives and bringing our sense of what’s normal to a standstill. But for those of us with pets, we can’t stop our caregiving and treat-dispensing. Thankfully many infectious disease experts, including domestic and international animal and health organizations, agree that there’s no evidence to suggest that our pets can become ill with COVID-19 and/or transmit the virus to other animals or humans. [1-5]

But does that mean that the virus can’t be spread through our pets at all? Not quite.

COVID-19 is spread through droplets of saliva or mucus expelled from the coughs, sneezes, or even speech of someone who is infected with the virus [1,2]. But it can also be picked up from touching your face (primarily the mouth, nose, eyes) after having touched a contaminated surface [1]. 

Smooth surfaces such as bowls or toys allow for easier transmission of COVID-19 compared to rough and fibrous surfaces such as pet fur, because fibrous materials act as a minor barrier that absorbs and traps the virus [1]. This pseudo-barrier makes it more difficult to transmit the virus through touch, but keep in mind that dander and hair particles can still scatter when a pet shakes or self-grooms. 

Living With Pets During COVID-19 - Photo 2 - Doghaus Blog

Ultimately, all animals can carry germs that have the possibility of making people sick, so it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around our pets [3]! If you’re not ill or showing any symptoms of COVID-19, proper hygienic etiquette can still involve: 

  • washing your hands before and after play
  • making sure your pet is well-groomed
  • regularly sanitizing food and water bowls
  • keeping your pet’s beds and toys clean
  • being mindful of social distancing during walks or potty breaks
Living With Pets During COVID-19 - Photo 3 - Doghaus Blog

However, if you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important to keep precautionary measures in place to limit any risk of transmission through our pets, on top of following advice from medical professionals: 

  1. Ask a household member to care for your animals if you’re unwell. If this isn’t possible, always wash your hands before and after touching your animals, their food, and their supplies. 
  2. Don’t cough or sneeze on your animals. In general, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow.
  3. Remain indoors if you’re feeling symptomatic. There are plenty of great indoor distractions for your dogs and cats during this time inside: check out our blogs on environmental enrichment and indoor boredom busters for inspiration!
  4. Practice proper food handling. Although there’s no evidence to suggest that food is a source or route of transmission, prevention is key! So focus on hand washing and avoid cross-contamination while preparing and handling food. This also means not sharing food with your pet.
  5. Practice good overall hygiene. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes when interacting with your animals, and wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after playing.
  6. Limit close contact with your pets as much as you can. This can be difficult, but try not to snuggle or kiss your pets for the time being, and don’t let them lick you or sleep on your bed. 
  7. Ask an expert! If you feel any uncertainty, contact a veterinarian or local pet specialist for up-to-date advice. 
Living With Pets During COVID-19 - Photo 4 - Doghaus Blog

And remember, pets contribute to our overall happiness and wellbeing, especially in times of stress [4]! If you’re feeling unaffected by viral symptoms and aren’t self-isolating, taking walks with your dog or otherwise spending quality time with your pets can contribute to keeping you both happy and healthy [4].

Stay safe and think of happy times!

Living With Pets During COVID-19 - Photo 5 - Doghaus Blog

1. American Veterinary Medical Association. COVID-19 What veterinarians need to know. 22 March 2020, https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19

2. World Health Organization: Health Emergencies Preparedness and Response. Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19). 9 March 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

3. CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Coronavirus disease 2019: Animals and coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 16 March 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus2019-ncov/prepare/animals.html 

4. Government of Canada. Latest CFIA information for consumers on food and animal health – COVID-19. 22 March 2020, https://www.inspection.gc.ca/covid-19/questions-and-answers/eng/1584648921808/1584648922156

5. Government of Canada. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks. 23 March 2020. Accessed 24 March 2020, https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html?topic=tilelink

Rufferal Program

For every three (3) friends that you refer to our grooming service, your dog will receive one (1) free grooming session! 

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