COVID-19 – pets and animals

The World Organisation for Animal Health advises that currently there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of COVID-19. The current spread of COVID-19 is driven by human to human transmission.

However, a very small number of cases of COVID-19 have been reported in animals that have been infected from close contact with a person who has COVID-19.

As outlined by the World Organisation for Animal Health, it is recommended that people who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 limit contact with animals, and have another member of their household care for the animals wherever possible.

Read the World Organisation for Animal Health’s question and answers on COVID-19 for more information.

How do I care for my pets during a pandemic?

Dr Mary Carr, Chief Veterinary Officer at PIRSA, has answered some key questions.

Caring for animals if you are quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19

You should avoid contact with your pets and other animals if you are quarantined and/or have tested positive to COVID-19.

If you can't avoid contact with pets and other animals:

  • keep your contact to a minimum
  • wash your hands before and after handling animals
  • avoid kissing, being licked by, or sharing food with animals
  • prevent your animals from interacting with other people.

At this time, there is no need to test animals for COVID-19, but if your animal becomes sick you should contact your veterinarian for advice.

Catching coronavirus from your pet

Currently there is no evidence to suggest that you can catch COVID-19 from your pet.

Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.

While it’s extremely unlikely you’ll catch coronavirus by patting your pet, it’s always best practice to use good hand hygiene and wash your hands with soap and water after contact with animals.

Walking your dog if you're in self-isolation

If you are in self-quarantine or self-isolation you must not leave your home, even to take your dog for a walk.

You also shouldn’t have any visitors during this time, so this rules out having someone else come over to walk your dog.

Instead, your dog can exercise in your backyard during this short period of time. Teach your animal new tricks or use interactive toys and games to help your dog burn energy and keep them entertained.

Walking your dog while social distancing

You can walk your dog if you're social distancing as long as you follow the rules on gathering with other people and keep 1.5 metres away from others.

Vet care for your animals while you're self-isolating

If you’re in self-isolation or self-quarantine and you're concerned about your animal’s health, call your vet for advice. They will work with you to make sure your animal receives the care they need. You may need to arrange for someone else to take your animal to the vet. It’s important to be prepared in case this happens and remain at home to help keep vet staff safe and healthy.

Other people patting your pets

Due to the small risk of transmission from your pet’s fur, don’t allow others to touch your pets at this time.

Page Last Reviewed: 03 Apr 2020
Top of page