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Veterinarians & Owners Need To Know To Keep Our Pets & Owners Safe

Veterinarians & Owners Need To Know To Keep Our Pets & Owners Safe


Recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Based on Companion Animal History
Animal History Facemask Eye Protection (face shield, goggles) Gloves Protective Outerwear (gown or coveralls3) N95 Respirator or Suitable Alternative4
Healthy companion animal without exposure to a person with COVID-19 compatible symptoms1, 2 N1 N1 N1 N1 N1
An Animal with an illness that is not suspicious of SARS-CoV-2 infection5 AND without exposure to a person with COVID-19 compatible symptoms1, 2 N1 N1 N1 N1 N1
Animal that is not suspicious of SARS-CoV-2 infection5  BUT has exposure to a person with COVID-19 compatible symptoms Y N1 Y N1 N1
Companion animal with an illness that is suspicious of SARS-CoV-2 infection5 Y Y Y Y N7
Aerosol-generating procedure for any animal without exposure to a person with COVID-19 compatible symptoms6 Y Y Y Y N7
With Aerosol-generating procedure for any animal with an exposure to a person with COVID-19 compatible symptoms6 N Y Y Y Y
All procedures on an animal that is known to be currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 through detection by a validated RT-PCR assay N Y Y Y Y
Any procedure where a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present N Y Y Y Y

Clinical signs that are compatible with possible SARS-CoV-2 infection in companion animals include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal/Ocular discharge
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Veterinarians consider the patient’s potential for exposures to COVID-19 when determining whether the patient has suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection.

6A list of Aerosol-generating procedures, such as suction or bronchoscopy,on any animals that have been exposed to or are suspected of being infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Make Sure To Pick Up After &


  • Wear appropriate PPE.
  • Contain the urine, feces, blood, saliva, or vomit with absorbent material (e.g., paper towels, sawdust, or cat litter).
  • Pick up the material and seal it in a leak-proof plastic bag.
  • Clean and disinfect the area with an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant external icon according to the disinfectant label instructions.
  • After disinfection, safely remove and dispose of PPE according to facility/clinic’s standard procedures and wash hands.
  • Keep other people and animals away from the area until disinfection is completed.

Waste disposal

  • Waste produced during the care of animals that are infected with SARS-CoV-2 need to be disposed of as medical waste while other waste can be disposed of in sealed normal trash. Waste that needs to be separated as medical waste includes animal feces, blood, and bodily fluids, and any disposable materials (including PPE) soiled with animal waste, blood or bodily fluids. PPE without visible staining or saturation needs to be disposed of as normal trash in separate sealed bags. Refer to state and local requirements on the disposal of medical waste.
  • See also:  Interim guidance on disinfection procedures

Home isolation recommendations

If the pet can be isolated at home, advise the pet owner to do the following:

  • Have the pet stay in a designated “sick room” (such as a laundry room or extra bathroom) or otherwise be separated from people and other animals. This is similar to how a person with COVID-19 would separate from others in their household.
  • Limit interaction with the isolated pet, while still ensuring appropriate care is provided for the animal.
  • The pet should use a litterbox or bathroom that is separate from other animals.
  • Dogs in households with access to private areas for elimination (e.g., backyard) should not be taken on walks. When walks are unavoidable, they need to be limited to bathroom breaks, and restricted to the immediate vicinity of the dog’s home. Interaction with other people or animals should also be avoided.
  • Cats need to be kept inside in a designated area away from people and other animals. Do not allow cats positive for SARS-CoV-2 to roam outside.
  • Use gloves when picking up feces (poop). Throw out gloves and place waste material or litterbox waste in a sealed bag before throwing it away in a trashcan lined with a trash bag. Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately after cleaning up after your pet.
  • With no evidence that companion animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,  there are other zoonotic diseases that can spread between animal and people, so practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, including washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after interacting with them. If a companion animal is under home isolation for suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2:
    • Provide bedding, bowls or containers, treats, and toys that are separate from those used by other people or animals in the household.
    • Disinfect bowls, toys, and other animal care items with an EPA-registered disinfectant external icon and rinse thoroughly with clean water afterward.
    • Soft items like towels, blankets, and other bedding, can be safely laundered and reused. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill animal can be washed with other items.
  • DO NOT take your pet to human healthcare facilities, schools, dog parks, parks, groomers, and pet daycares, pet stores, boarding facilities, or similar places until the animal is cleared to resume normal activities.
  • If direct contact with the ill animal happens, follow similarly recommended precautions as for humans caring for other infected humans at home.

You Need To Know

Informing pet owners on what is known about companion animals and SARS-CoV-2 is important to help them stay safe and healthy around their pets.  Below are key messages to share with pet owners:

  • There is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited data available, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered below. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by the virus and the role animals may play in the spread of COVID-19.
  • We are still learning about this virus, and it appears that in some situations, people can spread the virus to animals.
  • When sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would with people.
    • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
    • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food, or sleeping in the same bed.
    • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them and wear a mask.
  • Until we know more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other family members to prevent them from getting infected.
    • Although we know certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets. Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any other products not approved for animal use.
    • Minimize pets interact with people outside your household.
    • Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet away from others.
    • Stay away from public places where large numbers of people gather.
    • Pets don’t require masks. Covering a pet’s face could harm them.
    • Keep cats indoors when possible and do not let them roam freely outside.
  • Because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.
    • Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
    • Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
    • Visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website for more information on keeping animals and people safe and healthy.
  • Routine testing of animals for this new coronavirus is not recommended.

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