San Diego Humane Society is actively monitoring the spread of the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. As an organization, our Emergency Response Team is working closely with local partners to ensure we are ready to respond if we’re needed to help our community. A special task force is proactively working to anticipate needs as the situation develops.
We are telling staff and volunteers who feel sick to stay home. In addition, we ask the public to avoid visiting San Diego Humane Society if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, including mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
Here are some FAQs based on information from the CDC:
Can pets get COVID-19?
At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals can contract COVID-19.
But what about the dog who tested positive in Hong Kong?
A pet dog was quarantined in Hong Kong after getting a "weak positive" result in a test for the COVID-19 virus. Although a dog tested positively, it doesn’t mean the dog is infected with the virus. Just as the virus can live on any other surface that we may come in contact with, such as a door knob, the virus could live on a dog if someone infected with COVID-19 came in contact with them. If you are sick, it’s important to avoid coughing or sneezing on your pet and wash them regularly to limit transmission of the disease. It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after touching or being around any animal.
Can I catch the virus from my pet or vice versa?
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have issued advisories saying there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the virus and “there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.”
What happens to my pet if I get sick?
Keep your pet home with you, avoid close contact and follow good hygiene.
The CDC recommends the following: “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.
How can I protect my pet if I get sick with COVID-19?
Just like any other emergency, it’s important to be prepared and have a plan for your pets. Arrange for trusted friends or family who could care for your pets in the event that you become sick or require hospitalization. You can find more information about emergency planning with pets on our website here.
If I’m not sick, should I still avoid contact with animals.
No. If you’re healthy, there’s no reason to avoid contact with pets.
What else is San Diego Humane Society doing in regard to COVID-19?
San Diego Humane Society is actively monitoring COVID-19 and we are frequently corresponding with our local partners and emergency officials. SDHS has an emergency plan in place to ensure that our operations will continue in case of an outbreak. SDHS also has several policies in place to reduce the spread of germs to protect our employees, animals, volunteers and guests.
Where can I find more information and guidelines about how to protect myself and my pet?
Continuous updates from San Diego Humane Society can be found here.