Coronavirus and your pets, what you need to know

If you’re like me, then this whole coronavirus thing has been triggering all sorts of anxiety. From zombie scenarios to toilet paper shortages, everything seems a little crazy. To combat that anxiety, I like to research. Learning as much as possible helps me feel like I have some sort of control in this chaotic climate. 

Of course, my thoughts automatically go to our furry friends. How do we keep them safe, in their homes, and healthy? I’ve been looking into all these questions and more to prepare for the worst. Unfortunately, so much is still unknown about COVID-19 so it’s hard to have all the answers. Here is what I’ve found so far about our animals and the Coronavirus. 

Can our pets get COVID-19?

This is the most common question I’m seeing and the answer is… complicated. World Health Organization originally said no, our pets could not become infected with COVID-19. Then, last week, a dog tested “weak positive” in Hong Kong with the virus. The virus was found in its oral and nasal passages indicating it had become infected. The dog was quarantined after its owner became hospitalized with Coronavirus. Organizations unanimously agreed this dog was infected because of human-to-animal transfer.

It’s important to note there is a difference between infection and getting sick. While the virus is present in the dog, the dog has yet to become sick or show signs of illness. Health organizations also believe pets are unable to shed the disease, meaning they cannot infect humans.

Much of this is all still new information and the dog that tested positive is being closely monitored. 

It should also be noted that there is another dog in quarantine that has tested negative. 

Can we catch COVID-19 from our pets?

Again, another popular question with a tricky answer. Right now, there is no evidence to suggest we can become infected with COVID-19 from our pets. The unfortunate news is that the virus can live on surface for hours or days even. Our pets are certainly a surface so it’s possible they could carry the disease and pass it to someone else. Currently, veterinarians believe this to be unlikely.

How should we protect ourselves/our pets?

The 2020 slogan: wash your hands. Before and after you pet and snuggle your furry friend, make sure your hands are clean. I’ve also seen some suggestions that you should not kiss your pet (who are these monsters that think this is possible?!) but from what I could tell, this applies to those already infected with COVID-19.

Is there a Coronavirus vaccine for pets?

Not the COVID-19. Funny enough, I had actually learned of the Coronavirus when I was working at a veterinary office. Coronavirus has many different strands and there is a vaccine for one of them. The vaccine is for CCoV which is a completely different type of illness. CCoV causes intestinal issues and is not the same as COVID-19.

What should I do now?

Prepare, but don’t panic. Like any natural disaster, have a preparedness plan. Make sure you have plenty of food (at least two weeks’ worth), any medications, and essentials for your pet. 

If you are sick or become sick, it is recommended that you do not come in contact with your pet. Therefore, make sure you have a friend/family member on standby in case you become sick. Also, make sure your pet is current with vaccines so he can be boarded if necessary. 

Having a plan will put you and your pets in a better position in case the worst happens.

Additional resources

Rescue Chicago is offering pet assistance to those affected by COVID-19. Whether reduction of work, loss of job, or infection, you may fill out this form and Rescue Chicago will get in touch.

If you would like to support Rescue Chicago’s COVID-19 Pet Assistance Program, you can donate via QuickPay/Zelle to OR via Venmo @rescuechicago. Thank you in advance for your donation. 

Anti-Cruelty Society is developing the Emergency Relief Foster Program. This is a new effort that will train up on-call fosters to house animals in times of crisis. Work is already underway to recruit caretakers to foster cats, dogs, and rabbits who are currently available for adoption, and by doing so, clear out shelter space for pets who may need emergency boarding due to owner hospitalization. For more information, email  To sign up to foster for ACS, email Clare at

If you’re working from home, please consider fostering! We also need willing to open up their homes to pets currently at our city shelter. There is going to be an influx of animals in need so if you can foster, please fill out this survey

Final thoughts

In the end, yeah, things are kind of crazy. It’s hard not to panic. So instead, be prepared. Know that things are constantly changing and focus on what you can control. Keep your eye on WHO for important updates, snuggle those pets and wash those hands!


Martia – This sweet girl is just so beautiful! Look at those eyes… sigh. This girl came to ACS when her family was forced to give her pup due to landlord issues. Martia lived with other dogs and got along with them so well. She’s so loving but doesn’t fully know her size so she’d do well in a home with older children. 

Diamond – This senior lady was nothing but love. I have the biggest soft spot for seniors so of course, I fell in love with her. Diamond would love someone willing to spoil her in her golden years. She has minor sensitivity to handling so it’s recommended she live in a home with older children. 


Thank you to my friends at RBC Showroom for lending me these pieces! This top is Sub_Urban Riot and the pants are Frnch. My boots are from my favorite, Bhava



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