Frequently Asked Questions

For the sake of keeping our pets, their families, and our staff safe and informed, we’ve put together this FAQ.

Here’s everything you wanted to know about COVID-19 and animals.

If you have any questions or concerns at all, feel free to contact us at 604-291-6666 or hastingsvh@gmail.com.

What is the evidence that animals can become infected and develop illness from the COVID-19?

Currently there is limited evidence that animals can be infected with COVID-19 and reporting of infected animals has been rare in this outbreak. The overall risk that domestic animals can become infected and develop illness, is thought to be low. However, only limited information is available and there is still uncertainty and many unknowns about how this virus will behave in various animal species. There have been two dogs from Hong Kong reported to be infected with COVID-19, however neither dog showed any signs of illness. An additional 15 dogs and 8 cats from households with COVID-19 illness in Hong Kong have tested negative.

If an animal becomes infected, what is the evidence that they can transmit the virus to other people or animals?

Although the virus likely originated from a wild animal host, the virus has adapted to efficiently transmit from human-to-human. There have been no reports of transmission from a domestic animal to another animal or human, despite a widespread international outbreak. Infected people are believed to be the source of the virus reported in pet animals (human-animal transmission rather than animal-human).

What is the evidence that animals can act as fomites to mechanically transmit the COVID-19 virus from a human case to another person?

Although there is a potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 through contact with a contaminated hair coat, there is only a theoretical risk of transmission of the virus to a person through this route. It is considered unlikely that a sufficient amount of virus would remain on the hair coat long enough to transmit infection. Practicing the following measures would further reduce any possible risk.

  • Wash your hands before and after touching an at-risk animal or their food/supplies, and after cleaning up after them (consider wearing gloves).
  • Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Wear protective outerwear to prevent contamination of your clothes.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect any surfaces or objects the animal touches.
  • Minimize the animal’s contact with people and other animals.

Someone is ill with symptoms of COVID-19, and is now worried that their pet could be an ongoing source of infection for others. Is this a concern?

Even if the pet was exposed to the virus in the household during the owner’s illness, it is unlikely that the pet would be a source of the virus (either by infection or contamination of the coat) beyond the owner’s own course of disease. The virus is transmitted primarily person-to-person; therefore, once the person (or family) is able to come out of self-isolation, their animals can also presumably be out safely in the community.

Can animals be tested for COVID-19?

Testing of animals is not recommended at this time, as the virus is primarily transmitted person-to-person and not through animal contact. Commercial test kits for animals are not available.