Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
 

COVID-19 and Animals


Worldwide, a small number of pets, including cats and dogs, have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. It seems that infections are linked to close contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19.  Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.

Animals FAQs


NEW Last updated: October 6, 2020

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that pets infected by humans play a role in the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact (within two metres or six feet) with an infected person’s respiratory droplets created through sneezing, coughing, spitting, heavy breathing, singing or talking. COVID-19 can also be transmitted by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated by the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. Smooth (non-porous) surfaces (e.g., countertops, doorknobs) transmit viruses better than porous materials (e.g., pet fur).
Because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s always a good idea to:

  • wash your hands before and after interacting with animals;
  • ensure your pet is kept clean and its fur combed to prevent mats;
  • regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls and bedding materials; and
  • remove and replace soiled or damaged toys.

There are no confirmed examples of where viruses have been transmitted by contact with pet hair or skin. Therefore, it is not recommended that pet owners use alcohol-based sanitizers or sanitizing wipes to clean a pet’s fur or paws to prevent COVID-19, as it may be harmful.


NEW Last updated: October 6, 2020

While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. This is true in Canada as well as in other countries that have reported widespread transmission of COVID-19.

There is much more to be learned about how COVID-19 affects children. So far, we know children are less likely than adults to spread or get sick from COVID-19. Between March 12 and July 1, Manitoba data shows that approximately five per cent of all COVID-19 cases are in children (aged 19 years and younger).
While many children will develop only mild symptoms, some appear to be more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Those at higher risk can develop more serious symptoms. High risk groups include those:

  • less than one year of age
  • with a chronic medical condition (e.g., diabetes, chronic lung conditions)
  • with weakened immune systems (e.g., cancer, transplant recipients)

NEW Last updated: October 6, 2020

It is unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 by petting or playing with your pet. While we know that certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there are no examples of viruses that have been transmitted by contact with pet hair or skin, including COVID-19.

While the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 from pets’ collars, leashes, or carriers also appears to be limited, it’s always a good idea to keep these items clean.


NEW Last updated: October 6, 2020

Identify another person in your household, a neighbour or a friend who is willing and able to care for your pet if you get COVID-19. Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared, with at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s food and any needed medications. Consult with your veterinarian for further information on how to make an emergency kit.


NEW Last updated: October 6, 2020

Contact your veterinarian before you bring your pet or service animal to the veterinary clinic/hospital. You should tell them why you are concerned about your animal being ill (e.g., what symptoms of illness you are seeing) and that the animal has been exposed to someone who has been sick with COVID-19. Do not take the animal to a veterinary clinic/hospital until you have consulted with your veterinarian, especially if you are personally ill with COVID-19.

If your pet gets sick, it is unlikely that it is because it has COVID-19. There is most likely a different cause for its illness. There is also no evidence to suggest that animals, including pets, are playing a role in the spread of COVID-19.


NEW Last updated: October 6, 2020

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would restrict contact with other people.

Have another member of your household care for your animals, if possible. If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, then wear a cloth face covering. Don’t share food, kiss or hug them, and wash your hands before and after any contact with them. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. Cats should also be kept indoors as much as possible.

NEW Last updated: October 6, 2020

If you are sick with COVID-19 or another communicable disease, you are advised to stay home and reduce contact with other people until you are well. if the appointment is routine or non-urgent, consider rescheduling it until your physician and/or your public health provider believe you are no longer infectious. If you are sick with COVID-19, and you believe your pet or service animal is ill, you should seek assistance from your veterinarian to determine how to best care for your pet or service animal while minimizing risks of transmitting COVID-19 to other people.
Be sure to contact your veterinarian before heading to the veterinary clinic/hospital to see what they recommend for your situation.


NEW Last updated: October 6, 2020

Call your regular veterinarian of the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer at 204-794-1591 with any questions about your animal’s health related to COVID-19. You should tell them why you are concerned about your animal being ill (e.g., what symptoms you are seeing) and whether the animal has had close contact with someone who has been sick with COVID-19.