The risk of a pet catching the coronavirus from a human is extremely low.
There have been only a few reported cases of dogs and cats becoming ill with what may have been the coronavirus. As for pet fish, the risk is even lower, if not non-existent. Transmission of diseases between fish and fish owners is very low overall.
It’s also highly unlikely for humans to contract the virus from pets. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States, there is no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
However, the pandemic serves as a reminder that pet owners should still exercise caution when handling livestock – as well as dogs, cats, birds, and other pets – both in order to protect the animals and themselves.
Because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.
Following are several pet owner safety tips based on recommendations from the CDC.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly. This is especially important for aquariums, as too much ammonia or algae in the tank can sicken fish in the tank.
- Talk to our aquarium maintenance technician if you have questions about the health of your livestock or the cleanliness of the fish tank.
- Be aware that children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and people 65 years of age and older are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry.
Because it may be slightly possible for pets to catch the coronavirus from you, avoid close contact with your dogs, cats, or other pets if you are sick. If possible, ask someone else to maintain your fish tank, walk your dogs, and feed the animals.
If your pet is sick, you should make every effort to keep it away from other pets as well. This is especially true for pet fish; if your fish is sick, take it out of a shared aquarium and create a quarantine tank for it until it can heal.
For more information about the relationship between pets and the coronavirus, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 and Animals page.