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Apr 24

Protecting Animals from COVID-19

Posted on April 24, 2020 at 3:19 PM by Emily Watkins

The CDC announced this week the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in two pet cats in New York state. Public health officials are still learning about COVID-19, but there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States.

Keep the following in mind to keep your animals and yourself well.

Everyday precautions apply to your pets and livestock, too.

Apply basic hygiene and distance measures to stay safe.

  • Wash your hands before and after handling pets, even your own.
  • Avoid sneezing or coughing on your pet.
  • Keep your distance from other pets and animals. Don’t allow people outside of your household to pet your animals. Don’t touch animals that are not your own.
    • Walk your dog on a leash.
    • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
    • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
  • Always avoid interacting with or feeding wild animals.

Make plans for pet care if you become sick.

If you become ill, follow the CDC's guidance.

  • When possible, have a friend, neighbor or family member provide care to your pets while you recover. 
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including snuggling, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you do not have someone to assist with care, wear a cloth face covering around your pets, and practice good hand-washing before and after you interact with your pet.
  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and cannot leave your home to get pet food, call the Department of Animal Services at 703-777-0406 and they can assist you with up to two weeks of pet food delivered to your home.
  • Fill out this emergency animal information card (PDF). In the event of an emergency or unexpected hospitalization, this information will help your pet's caregiver give your animal the care they need. 
  • Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.

View more information from the CDC for people with animals.

If you have additional questions about COVID-19 and animals, call Animal Services at 703-777-0406, or email.

Stay Informed About COVID-19