Can COVID-19 be spread from people to animals and vice versa?

Research is ongoing, but if you are sick or self-isolating, avoid close contact with pets.

Some animals, including cats, dogs and ferrets, have tested positive after coming into contact with infected people, says the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO says it appears that cats and ferrets can transmit the disease to other animals of the same species but not to humans. 

The first reported cases of animal-to-human transmission have been in farm-raised mink, who in turn appear to have been infected by farm workers, said the WHO. Due to the possibility it could be spread this way, it is important to take precautionary measures. 

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or are self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19, the Canadian government recommends avoiding close contact with animals, including avoiding sharing food or letting them sleep with you. A full list of recommendations and guidelines for caring for exposed animals is available here

The World Organisation for Animal Health also provides recommendations. 

"People who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 should avoid close contact with their companion animals and have another member of their household care for them," it says. If they must look after their companion animals, they should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask if possible. Animals belonging to owners infected with SARS-CoV-2 should be kept indoors in line with similar lockdown recommendations for humans applicable in the country or area and contact with those animals should be avoided as much as possible."

Published By:
Emily Rendell-Watson

Emily Rendell-Watson

Thursday, July 16, 2020

by Karen Unland


edmonton, health


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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, see,,, and the World Health Organization.