Evidence shows that dogs and cats with COVID-19 typically became infected after being in close contact with an infected human for a long time.1 This unfortunately means that, if you have COVID, you may spread the virus to your pet. However, transmission of the virus from humans to pets doesn’t happen easily — and very few cases have been confirmed.1
While dogs and cats may become infected by humans spreading the virus, there’s a much lower chance that pets can spread the virus to humans and other animals.1 So if your pet has COVID, you likely don’t need to worry about them spreading it to other pets or people.
Vets are recommended to test pets for other illnesses before testing for COVID-19, and generally are advised against routine testing.1 If all other illnesses are ruled out, a COVID test can be performed and sent to a lab for confirmation.
A pet is only considered to be infected with COVID-19 if a positive test from a veterinarian is then confirmed by a USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory.3
If a test comes back positive for the COVID-19 infection, you and your vet can work together on a treatment plan based on your pet’s condition. Most pets who aren’t seriously ill recover with at-home care consisting of:3
- Limited contact with other pets and humans — though you should still provide the care they need
- Regularly cleaned bowls, bedding, litter boxes, or anything they use to reduce exposure to germs
- Rest with adequate food and water, according to your vet’s instructions
- Medications to help relieve symptoms, as prescribed by your vet
Your vet can clear your pet to return to normal activities when they meet one of two criteria: Either your pet hasn’t shown symptoms in at least 72 hours without medical care AND 14 days have passed since their last positive test, OR all re-tests have come back negative.2
Due to the low risk of pets getting COVID-19 from humans, if you or someone else in your home is infected with COVID, you likely don’t need to remove your pet from your home.1 You may, however, want to limit contact or have an uninfected household member take care of them as a precaution. If no one in your home is able to care for your pet while you’re sick, you may want to make a plan for someone else to safely help out while you recover.
If you’re sick, it’s a good idea to follow AVMA and CDC guidelines to help protect your pet:1,2
- Keep pets indoors as best you can to limit contact with other pets and humans.
- Walk pets on a leash if you’re going outdoors, and avoid public gathering places.
- Keep good hygiene habits if you must interact with pets — such as washing hands, wearing a mask, and limiting contact.
According to the CDC, you shouldn’t use chemical cleaning products on your pet (like sanitizer, disinfectants, or surface cleaners) as it’s unsafe for them, and there’s no evidence of the virus spreading from contact with their fur, skin, or hair.2
As pet parents, we never want to see our dog or cat sick. Fortunately, with COVID, it’s unlikely that they’ll be infected or experience symptoms. But what happens if your pup catches kennel cough or your kitty gets calicivirus, both of which have symptoms that can mirror COVID? Getting them the care they need when they fall ill is important — but it can come with unexpected costs.
With a MetLife Pet Insurance policy on your side, you can get reimbursed for covered illness and accident expenses, helping you get the best care for your furry family member without worrying about breaking your budget. And if you have multiple pets in your home, take advantage of our family plan — the only one on the market — that allows you to cover up to three pets on one policy with a shared deductible.4 Plus, our pet insurance policies can come with access to a 24/7 vet chat. So if you’re sick, you can talk with a vet without having to leave your home.
Put choosing between your finances and your pet’s care in the past. Get a free quote today, and see how MetLife Pet can help you keep your beloved pets happy and healthy.