Coronavirus and pets: Your questions answered

They’re questions a lot of people have been asking when it comes to the coronavirus and pets: Can they catch it? Can we pass it back and forth?

“Viruses in general don’t pass from animal to human often,” said Dr. Dana Vrable with the North American Veterinary Community’s Orlando headquarters, where the staff’s pets are part of the workspace and they’re following the coronavirus closely.

But what about the fact that this specific type of coronavirus is believed to have started with an animal?

“It’s unlikely the source to be a pet animal at this time, so the good news is that this coronavirus is unlikely to be passed from our pets to us,” Vrable said.

She also said that a pet in Hong Kong that tested positive along with its owner has shown no symptoms or issues. She recommends pet owners who might quarantine with a pet to have 30 days of the animal’s food and make sure the pet is up to date on shots.

Otherwise, Vrable said, there’s no need to change your normal activities or avoid the dog park.

“Obviously, if you or your pet becomes sick with anything, it’s best that you stay out of the community and prevent spread of not only of coronavirus, but any illness that you might have,” Vrable said.

Her last reminder is regardless of COVID-19 is to always exercise good pet hygiene.

“After you pet and play with your dog, you should wash your hands, just like you do for people, and you really shouldn’t allow your pets to lick your face, unfortunately,” she said with a laugh. “I know we all do it, but we shouldn’t do it.”

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