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Dogs, Cats & COVID: What You Should Know

Dogs, Cats & COVID: What You Should Know

If you have pets you may be wondering whether your dog or cat can catch the COVID-19 and what you should do if your pet seems to have coronavirus symptoms. Our Santa Clarita team looks at the current understanding about cats, dogs and COVID symptoms.

Coronavirus & Animals

COVID-19 is just one member of the corona family of viruses. While some coronaviruses lead to cold or flu-like illnesses in humans, others can cause illness in animals. But it's important to note that some coronaviruses only infect animals and do not infect people.

Do dogs and cats spread COVID-19?

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can be spread from people to pets they are in close contact with. However, the risk of cats and dogs spreading the virus to people remains low and there is no evidence that it can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets. 

Never use any chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, or other surface cleaners on your pet. Speak to your vet to learn more about appropriate products for cleaning or bathing your dog or cat​​.

How can I prevent my pet from getting sick if I have COVID-19?

While there is nothing nicer than snuggling with your beloved dog or cat when you feel unwell, the best approach for preventing COVID in pets is to avoid contact with them while you (or your family member) are sick. Avoid patting, snuggling, and sleeping in the same pet.

What should I do if I think my cat or dog has COVID?

Much like people, pets infected with COVID can be asymptomatic (have no symptoms). In cases when symptoms have appeared in dogs and cats, they have typically been mild. Severe illness from COVID in pets is extremely rare.

Cats and COVID-19 symptoms are much the same as dogs and COVID-19 symptoms when they occur. The most common symptoms of COVID in pets include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lack of energy or sluggishness
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Eye discharge
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID please do not visit your veterinary clinic. If your pet is exhibiting any of the COVID symptoms listed above simply call your vet's office for advice or for a telephone appointment. While these are common signs of COVID-19 in pets, these symptoms are also common to many other conditions seen in dogs and cats. 

What should I do if my dog or cat tests positive for COVID-19?

If your pet has tested positive for COVID it's a good idea to isolate them in your home, by restricting their movements to certain rooms or spaces. Be sure that they have a comfy place to sleep, and plenty of food and clean water within easy reach. Your vet will provide you with more detailed instructions on how best to care for your sick pet.

Do not allow cats with COVID-19 outdoors to roam. Cats with COVID should be kept indoors until your vet gives your feline friend the all-clear.

If while isolated, you feel that your pet's symptoms are becoming more severe, call your vet for further instructions.

When can my pet go back to normal life?

Typically pets can go back to normal activities if they have not shown any symptoms for at least 72 hours (without medications or veterinary care) or if it has been at least 14 days since their last positive COVID test.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you live near Santa Clarita and think that your dog or cat may have COVID? Call our Valencia Veterinary Center vets right away to speak to our staff about caring for your pet with COVID.

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