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COVID-19 and Your Pet

This page was last updated on Thursday, April 23.

We know that pet owners are concerned about COVID-19, and we want to ensure that Rhode Island’s pet owners are up-to-date with the current information regarding their pet’s well-being. We are following guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are encouraging you to do the same during this time. We’re also doing our best to keep this page updated with the most accurate information from the CDC.  You can visit the CDC’s website for complete information regarding your pet and COVID-19.

Can pets contract COVID-19?

  • At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
  • We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations.

Can pets transmit COVID-19?

While COVID-19 is believed to originate from an animal source, there is no known reason that the CDC has to believe that pets can spread the virus.

What if I come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or contract COVID-19 myself?

If you come in contact with, or contract, COVID-19 you should avoid additional contact with other people and pets. If you become ill and can still properly care for your pet, the best solution is keeping your pet in your home with you. If you are caring for your pet while you are sick, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before and after interacting with them. Do not cuddle or pet your animal, share food with your pet or let your pet lick you while you are sick.

Should I worry about my pet cat?

Per the CDC on April 22, 2020: “The first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in two pet cats. These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

The cats live in two separate areas of New York state. Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery. SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with COVID-19.

At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended.”

What should I do to prepare my pet?

You should plan for your pet now. As always, you should include your pet in any disaster planning and always be prepared to implement your pet’s emergency plan. Please visit our “Prepare Your Pet” page to learn more about the steps you should take today.

Have more questions?

You can visit the CDC’s website for more information on animals and COVID-19.