Updated 5/5/2020

Experts now say dogs and cats CAN get sick from COVID-19, but do not play a role in the carrying or spreading of COVID-19 to humans.

In a reversal of its earlier position, the World Health Organization now states that there is no evidence of companion animals spreading the COVID-19 virus to humans. It had previously reported the virus was detected in the nostrils of two dogs in Wuhan, China that had been in close contact with others in the outbreak epicenter. The previous statement raised significant concern that pets and other mammals could participate in animal-to-human transmission, known as zoonomic infection.

A joint statement, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Veterinary Association (WVA) also say domestic pets, including dogs and cats, do not contract or spread COVID-19, and should not be isolated, do not need to wear masks, and should not be abandoned or denied regular companionship and care. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states it has no reported cases of animal-to-human spread of COVID-19. Within the broad category of coronaviruses, there have been strains in the past that have been detected in animals, but not COVID-19. 

The CDC continues to recommend that people sick with COVID-19 should limit their close contact with all household members, including their pets.

In addition, CDC guidance recommends everyone should continue to follow good hygiene practices, such as washing their hands and cleaning their pets’ paws after walks in the community.