People living with or working with pets may be concerned about the impact of COVID-19. The information below was updated 4/2/2020 following the updated “Stay at Home Order” by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton.
How likely are you to get COVID-19?
That depends. If you are in a high-risk group, and you are exposed to a person carrying and shedding the virus, then you are at higher risk of getting the virus and getting sick from the infection.
The smaller the number of people in the same room with you over the next weeks to months the better. Also, the fewer people who interact with you over the next weeks to months the better.
The COVID-19 virus is most easily spread from an infected person to another person through coughing and sneezing. It’s best if you keep other people six (6) feet away from you so that if they cough or sneeze, you are less likely to become infected by the virus carried in the air in the small droplets that result from a cough or sneeze.
The number of people who are infected is growing and can only be slowed down by keeping your distance from others – even if they may not show signs of being sick.
Can my pet get COVID-19?
Previously, we reported that there is no evidence that your pet can get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 or get sick from exposure to it (report from 3/23/2020). Recently, we learned that dogs and cats may get infected if they are in close contact with a person who is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. There are reports that two dogs were exposed to the virus from an infected person (they didn’t appear to be sick) and that one cat was infected and did appear sick. [Updated 3/30/2020]
Therefore, if you are sick with the virus that causes COVID-19, then it’s best that your pet isn’t close to you, especially to your face when you cough or sneeze, which can spread the virus.
Can you get COVID-19 from a pet?
There is no report to date that pets, like dogs or cats, can give people COVID-19.
Can I get essential services for my pet?
Yes – but service providers and services that are offered may be more limited in Ohio now that people are concerned about getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals, including pets, are considered essential services (page 3, item 7). Contact your service provider if you believe you need critical services for your pet. [Updated 3/23/2020]
For more complete information, here are the best resources we’ve found that give the facts about COVID-19 and the risks to you and your pets.
Information about people and COVID-19
Information about pets and COVID-19
Information for veterinary staff and COVID-19
Information from the Ohio Department of Health
Dr. Anna M. van Heeckeren studied lung diseases for 15 years and is a public health professional as a veterinarian. She is a member of local, state, and national veterinary associations, as well as national public health associations. She gathered this information as a general guide for people living with pets. If you have specific questions about your personal health, call your primary care physician. If you’re concerned about taking your pet to a veterinarian, groomer, boarding facility, or elsewhere for essential care, consider calling ahead. They may or may not be open for business. If they are, ask how they’re planning on reducing the risk that you will get exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 from their facility or staff. They may offer curb-side interactions.