FAQ: COVID-19 and Your Pet

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and your pet

The outbreak of COVID-19 is causing fear and uncertainty for lots of people, and the constant flood of news can make it hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. There is a threat to companion animal welfare because some people are starting worry that pets could spread the virus. Oregon Humane Society has the facts to answer your most common questions about pets and COVID-19.


Can my pet get COVID-19?

The CDC has issued updated guidance for pets after two pet cats in New York City tested positive for COVID-19. It’s important to know that there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare.

Can my pet give me COVID-19?

According to the CDC, there is currently no reason to believe that any animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people. However, social distancing is important for our pets, too. It is theoretically possible that a person with COVID-19 could sneeze or cough on your pet, and your pet would then have the virus on them. Anyone who then touched your pet, including you, could pick up the virus. Because of this, you should wash your hands before and after touching a pet, and restrict contact with pets if you’re sick. Make sure your pets are keeping six feet from any other pets or people who are not part of your household.

If I’m at home sick with COVID-19, what should I do to care for my pet?

If you have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, you should limit contact with your pet and wash your hands before and after you touch them. We know this can be very hard on you and your pet and a huge stress to the human animal bond. Try to limit exposure to your pets or wash your hands before caring for them to reduce the chance they could pick up the virus. If possible, a healthy member of the household should care for your pet while you’re sick.

How should I plan for pet care in case I’m hospitalized because of COVID-19?

Every pet owner should create or update their emergency preparedness kit and plan for their pet. Your plan should have a friend or family member who’s agreed to care for your pet in an emergency. Leave your pet’s carrier or crate, kit and any documents in one location so the person can easily collect the supplies they need to care for your pet. In addition, you should:

  • have two weeks of food, treats and medication on hand (rotate the medication regularly so it doesn’t expire)
  • make sure your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date a copy of vaccination type and the dates they were administered from your veterinarian is also extremely helpful
  • write a document of your pet’s medication with dosages and directions (including the prescription from your veterinarian is helpful)
  • update your pet’s identification: a collar with an ID tag and a microchip registered with current contact information
What should I do if I don’t have anybody to provide care for my pet?

Give your pet extra food and water and make sure they’re securely housed before you leave them alone, even if you don’t think it will be for very long. If you won’t be able to return home for more than 24 hours, tell a trusted person that your pet is at home so they can help. It helps to have your emergency kit and plan in place because it will make it much easier for someone to care for your pet until you can make other arrangements. Being prepared is the best thing you can do for your pet.

Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

The outbreak is rapidly evolving. We encourage you to regularly visit the CDC’s website and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA)’s website for updates. For resources related to animals, we recommend the following:

How can I help pets in need during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Animal welfare experts expect that shelters will see a surge in the number of incoming pets as the spread of COVID-19 affects the health and safety of pet owners, shelter staff and volunteers, and other animal welfare professionals. In some places, there’s already large increases in the number of homeless and abandoned pets. Here are five actions you can take to make a difference:

  • Donate to OHS. Animals in the shelter are counting on you more than ever to make sure they have what they need. There’s no way of knowing how long this will continue, which means donations are essential to the pets in our care. Please consider signing up for monthly giving to provide consistent support for animals in need.
  • Although OHS currently has limited services, we’re still conducting adoptions by appointment. Stuck at home? It’s a great time to add a furry friend to your family.
  • Drop off a care package. OHS is still accepting donations of food and supplies in a drop box outside the shelter. You can view our wish list to see what pets need the most. If you prefer, you can order through our Amazon Wish List and have the packages delivered directly to OHS!
  • Help your neighbors’ pets. If you have neighbors who are self-quarantined or need help right now, offer to walk their dog or handle other pet care needs. Make sure you follow CDC guidelines on interacting with people in quarantine.

For the latest updates on our COVID-19 response and ways you can help, visit oregonhumane.org/coronavirus.