Animal health during COVID-19

While there is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to humans, animal fur can be the same as other objects in that there may be a low risk of transmission from an animal’s coat if it has been touched by someone carrying the virus.

It is recommended that you always practice good hygiene when handling animals, which is especially important when you are sick.

Caring for animals if you are quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19

Avoid contact with pets and other animals while you are in quarantine or sick.

If you can't avoid contact with pets and other animals:

  • Keep your contact to a minimum.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling animals.
  • Avoid kissing, being licked by, or sharing food with your animals.
  • Prevent your animals from interacting with other people.

Follow all directions from human and animal health authorities. At this stage, there is no need to test animals for COVID-19.

Remember, if your animal becomes sick, contact your veterinarian for advice.

General good hygiene and biosecurity practices for managing animals

At all times you should practice good hygiene and biosecurity when managing pets and animals. This includes:

  • washing your hands before and after handling animals
  • isolating sick animals from other animals and seeking veterinary advice
  • vaccinating animals and keeping their boosters up to date
  • controlling worms, fleas, ticks, insects and other pests
  • cleaning and disinfecting animal equipment regularly, especially before new or young animals are introduced, or after any illness
  • limiting visitors to your animals, especially if they have been handling other animals. Make sure visitors wash their hands and shoes before entering your property, and, if possible, make sure they don’t visit young, old or sick animals.

Can I take my dog for a walk?

Since we often have unavoidable close contact with our pets, it is important that we consider them the same as any other close contact during this time. Ensure you practice good hygiene with your pets too.

When it is allowed

If you are practicing social distancing, you can take your dog for a walk. Keep you and your dog 1.5 metres away from other people. Don’t let other people pat your dog.

When it is not

If you are in self-isolation or quarantine, you cannot take your dog for a walk. Your dog needs to be isolated with you and therefore cannot go for walks – even with friends and family. We encourage you to find other ways to exercise your dog: throw a ball, or teach them new tricks.

More information

Page Last Reviewed: 03 Apr 2020
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