COVID-19 and Animals FAQ

How should I prepare for coronavirus Virus 2019 (COVID-19) if I have a pet?

Take time now to make plans and prepare your pets in case you can no longer take care of your pets or have to go to the hospital due to COVID-19. For a downloadable guide you can complete to help with emergency planning for pets, visit and search for pets and service animals.

Make a Plan – Prepare for a Human Health Emergency:

  • Designate a trusted pet caregiver (family, friend, neighbor, colleague). Your identified caregiver should have a set of your house keys, be familiar with your home and pet, know your emergency plan, and have your contact information.
  • Put together a Go Bag for each pet with basic food, supplies, medicine, identification, a list of emergency contacts, your veterinarian’s contact information, and vaccination proof.
  • If your pet is on medication, ask your veterinarian for an extra supply.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering instructions.

Can I get COVID-19 from my pet?

Limited studies suggest that while dogs may be infected, they do not get sick or spread COVID-19. Cats can be infected, and there are a few reports of cats becoming sick. However, at this time there are no reports of cats spreading COVID-19 to people.

Can a pet’s fur spread the virus that causes COVID-19?

There are no reports that viruses which may cause respiratory disease, including COVID-19, can be spread from a pet’s fur, however, as a precaution, those with COVID-19 should prevent anyone from having direct contact with pets.

I am sick with COVID-19 and have a pet. What should I do?

Although there is currently no evidence that pets can transmit COVID-19, this is a new virus and it is not fully understood. For this reason, it is best to limit contact with your pets if you are sick. Maintain separation from your pets as you would other household members. If possible, have another member of your household or someone else you trust care for your animals while you are sick. 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. Refrain from hugging, kissing, and sharing food with pets; coughing or sneezing on your pets; and allowing animals from different households to mingle. Wash pet bedding, leashes, collars, dishes and toys the same way you would clean other surfaces in your home. For more information, visit and search for if you have animals.

I am helping someone who is sick by walking their dog. How do I stay safe?

Always practice social (physical) distancing if this person is still home, as well as when you’re on a walk. Wear gloves when entering the person’s home as well as when you handle objects, like a leash or dog toys, that were in the home. Follow the general Health Department guidelines on wearing a face covering when you are out in the community while walking the dog. Even people who don’t feel sick or show symptoms can spread the virus.

Are veterinarians and pet supply stores open for business?

Essential veterinary care, pet food retail, and animal shelter operations are all deemed essential services in New York State, and are therefore exempt from the “PAUSE” Executive Order.