During the pandemic, many Americans have become new pet owners, bringing home a dog or cat to keep them company and lift their spirits when stay-at-home orders were issued. With the country now in the midst of a mounting wave of infections, the American Veterinary Medical Association
(AVMA) is reminding pet owners to have a plan in place for caring for their pets in the event they contract coronavirus.
Dr. Douglas Kratt, President of the AVMA, recommends that, if pet owners become infected, they should identify another member of the household who will take care of feeding, walking, playing with and otherwise caring for the pet, and make sure they are willing and have everything they need to do so.
COVID-positive pet owners who don’t have someone else available within the household to care for their pets should wear a cloth face covering; should not share food with, kiss, or hug their pets; and need to wash their hands before and after any contact.
Pet owners should make sure they have identified a person or a facility that can care for their pets if they are hospitalized. If they are unsure of who can care for their pets in these circumstances, their veterinarian may have recommendations.
“While this is primarily a human disease, we have seen a small number of cases in pets,” said Dr. Douglas Kratt, president of the AVMA. “These cases in pets appear to be uncommon, and are mostly mild or asymptomatic, but they can still happen. To be safe, and until we know more about the virus, the AVMA recommends those ill with COVID-19 restrict contact with their pets, just as they would restrict contact with other people.”
In general, it’s a good idea to not let your pets interact with people or other animals outside the household, especially in places with community spread of COVID-19.