3 Myths About Pets And COVID-19

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: May 6, 2020

There are several myths and misconceptions about the coronavirus floating around, including many about COVID-19 and pets. With 67% of U.S. households owning a pet, it is no wonder many of us are concerned about keeping our pets safe. We’ve broken down three popular myths surrounding COVID-19 and pets to help you separate fact from fiction, and help you protect your entire family - pets included. It is important to note that there are still many unknowns when it comes to the novel coronavirus, especially as it relates to pets. If you have specific questions or concerns about your pet, it is best to contact your veterinarian.
  1. Myth: Pets are a source of COVID-19 and are actively spreading the coronavirus to humans.
    There is no evidence at this time to support this claim. Experts at both The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) state they have no reason to believe that pets are a source of infection for people with the coronavirus. Further, the CDC notes that while initial infections of COVID-19 were thought to be linked to a live animal market, the primary source of spread right now is person-to-person transmission.
  2. Myth: I cannot transmit the coronavirus to my pet.
    There is evidence of pets contracting the coronavirus from humans, but experts believe this is rare. Currently, there are a few cases of animals testing positive for the coronavirus. In these cases, the animals were in close contact with people who had COVID-19 or were suspected to have COVID-19. According to the American Kennel Club, the dogs and cats who have tested positive so far have exhibited only mild symptoms, if any symptoms at all.
  3. Myth: There is no need to take any special precautions to protect my pet.
    Since there is evidence of pets becoming infected with the coronavirus from a sick person, experts do recommend taking some extra steps to keep your pet safe. The CDC advises sick individuals - whether confirmed to have COVID-19 or only suspected - to distance themselves from their pets like they would another human. If possible, you should have another person care for your pet while you are sick. However, at the very least, the AVMA recommends wearing a face mask when caring for your pet and washing your hands before and after handling your pet. Unfortunately, this also means avoiding petting, kissing, and hugging your pet while you are sick.

Our pets are essential members of our families. With information evolving every day and research still underway, experts agree best practice is to take some extra precautions to keep your pet - and the rest of your household - safe and healthy. While the situation is still developing, one basic step to take is to simply keep your pet away from other animals and people outside the home. Most importantly, be sure the information you have about COVID-19 and pets (and COVID-19 in general) is credible and up-to-date. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic, contact your veterinarian.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.