Should you worry about coronavirus hitting your pets?


As CEO of Best Friends, my work requires me to travel a lot, so I am super mindful of all the precautions I need to take to do as much as I can to avoid the flu and now the coronavirus. In fact, I’m just wrapping up a week-long trip with multiple legs that took me from Salt Lake City to Sacramento, Seattle, Bentonville (Arkansas), Atlanta and back to Salt Lake, so I’m well practiced in all the recommended procedures.

But what does coronavirus mean for pets?

I’m obviously concerned about any health risks to our dogs and cats, but also about any alarmist messages out there that might scare folks into thinking that they can catch this new bug from a pet.

So please put your mind at ease. Currently, multiple health organizations have stated that pets and domestic animals are not at risk for contracting COVID-19. With so much news circulating about COVID-19 (Corona Virus Infectious Disease–2019), it’s important to seek out updated information from reliable expert sources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), avoid speculation and focus on the information we do already know.

The same goes for those of us who live and work with animals and want to know the implications of this disease when it comes to pets. So, here’s what we do know: Right now, people should continue to follow recommended preventive actions, such as thoroughly washing your hands (something we animal welfare folks are already great at!) and avoiding crowds whenever possible, especially if you are in a high-risk group as identified by the experts. If you feel something coming on, it’s better to stay home to avoid spreading anything.

For trusted sources on up-to-date information, Best Friends recommends the following:

And here’s a great post from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which offers a helpful reminder to include your pets in any emergency preparedness plans.

In addition, our friends at Pet Partners hosted a Facebook Live session yesterday on how germs spread between animals and people. Be sure to look for the recording of the session (called “Zoonosis 101”) on Pet Partners’ Facebook page.

Make sure to follow Best Friends on social media for any critical updates related to animal welfare and pets. Finally, remember that pets are a welcome and wonderful distraction from the rumor mill and speculative, misleading stories.

Together, we will Save Them All.


Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society