COVID-19 & Pets FAQ

Washington County Animal Services COVID-19 & Pets FAQ

Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website,

the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and other sources


Can my pet give me COVID-19?

According to the CDC, there is no evidence at this time that pets can spread COVID-19 to people. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands before and after touching a pet, and limit contact with pets if you are sick.


Can my pet get COVID-19?

The CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Only a few of the animals reported to be positive showed signs of illness.  Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a potential infection.

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.  The CDC is working with human and animal health partners to monitor this situation and will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.


If I am sick with COVID-19 at home, what precautions should I take when caring for my pet?

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. In light of the fact that there have been a few very isolated cases of pets testing positive for COVID-19, it is recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with pets and other animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help ensure both you and your animals stay healthy. 


There is no need to remove your pet from your home if someone in your household is showing symptoms or is diagnosed with COVID-19, although you should follow the precautions listed below. Your pet is part of your family and should also stay at least 6 feet away from pets and people from other households.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet including, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.  


How should I plan for pet care in case I am hospitalized due to COVID-19?

Make arrangements now. Family, friends and professional pet care services are most likely to provide the best assistance to you and your pet, especially when you plan with them in advance.


Now is also a good time to update or create your emergency preparedness kit and plan for your pet. Having supplies and clear care instructions in one location will make it much easier for someone else to care for your pet and ensure your pet has their familiar items.

  • Have crates, food and extra supplies on hand.
  • Keep all animal vaccines up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions. Including the prescription from your veterinarian is also helpful.
  • Pets should have identification: collar with ID tag and a microchip registered with current contact information.

What should I do if I don’t have anybody to provide care for my pet if I am hospitalized?

Provide extra water, food and secure housing for your pet before you leave them alone, even if you think it will only be for a short time. If you will not be able to return home for an extended period of time, tell a trusted person that your pet is at home so they can help coordinate care. Being prepared will make it much easier for someone else to care for your pet and help your pet stay comfortable until you make other arrangements and help can arrive.


How can I make sure I have pet supplies if I must stay at home?

If you can, stock up now. Inventory your pet’s food, litter, medication and other supplies sooner rather than later to see what you might need to purchase. If shopping in public is not an option, ask a friend or family member for assistance. Alternatively, you can utilize home delivery services.


What if I can’t afford pet food?


FIDO Animals, The Pongo Fund and Multnomah County Animal Services Emergency Pet Food Support are three pet food bank resources located in Portland who might be able to help.


If you are experiencing a financial hardship that impacts your ability to provide food or veterinary care for your pets or you are at risk of losing your housing, we encourage you to read ASAP Coalition's Resources for Pet Owners Struggling Financially during COVID-19 Pandemic.


Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you to regularly visit both the Washington County Health and Human Services Department COVID-19 page and the CDC's If You Have Animals page.


Where can I find out more about what services the Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter and Washington County Animal Services are currently offering and what your hours are?

Please see our Animal Services COVID-19 page for details.




Page last updated on 12/30/2020