Can my pet spread the coronavirus?

woman using laptop with dog

Cats, dogs and COVID-19

While COVID-19 continues to infect — and kill — millions of people across the world, its effects on animals are being explored.

Scientists are still learning about the virus and more studies are needed to determine definitively if and how animals could be affected by COVID-19. So far, it appears pets can get SARS-CoV-2 from close contact with people with COVID-19, according to the CDC. So people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals, including pets, livestock and wildlife.

Protect your pets and family.

The CDC also recommends you:

  • Walk dogs on a leash, staying at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks and other public places where a lot of people and dogs gather.
  • Don’t put a mask on pets because it may harm them.

Scientists haven’t found evidence that the coronavirus spreads to people from pets’ skin, fur or hair. Don’t wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or other products, such as hand sanitizers, counter-cleaning wipes or other industrial or surface cleaners. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about appropriate products for bathing or cleaning your pet.

It’s also important for you to stay healthy — especially around your four-legged family members.

  • For your safety, wash your hands, social distance and wear masks. Also, practice good pet hygiene and clean up after your pets.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health. Be aware that children younger than 5, people with weakened immune systems and people 65 and older are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry.

Canine companions

As many people are staying home during the pandemic, more are turning to canine companions.

In March 2020, private breeders, shelters, rescues and pet stores across the nation reported a surge in requests for puppies and dogs.

About 1 in 3 Americans report being worried or depressed — a substantial increase due to the pandemic — and 53% of U.S. adults say COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health, according to the CDC.

So the all-out boom in sales and adoptions may be due in part to dogs helping their owners combat stress, boost happiness and engage in habits such as physical activity for their heart and brain health and well-being.

Watch our video of COVID19 safety tips.


Pets are good for your health!

Join the American Heart Association by high-fiving your pet and funding life-saving research.