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The original item was published from 3/12/2020 12:40:53 PM to 7/1/2020 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: March 12, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Animal Services provides guidance for pets during COVID-19 pandemic


Orange County Animal Services is providing an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it relates to companion animals. To date, COVID-19 is a result of person-to-person transmission and there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease. However, more studies are needed to understand how different animals could be affected by COVID-19 and pet owners should have a plan in place for their pets as a precaution.

COVID-19 is reported to have emerged from an animal source, but there is currently no evidence that companion animals can be infected with this new coronavirus. One recent report from Hong Kong indicated that a pet dog tested “weakly positive” to COVID-19, but experts are still trying to determine if the dog is actually infected with the virus or if the test result was caused by environmental contamination. The dog was not showing any clinical signs of the disease.

Although there are no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, pet owners should avoid contact with unfamiliar animals and always wash their hands before and after they interact with animals until more is understood about the virus. If pet owners are sick with COVID-19, they should avoid contact (including petting, snuggling, sharing food, etc.) with animals in their household. If pet owners need to care for their pets while they are sick, they should wear a facemask and wash their hands before and after they interact with their pets.

Pet owners who become sick or require hospitalization should have a plan in place for their pets.

  • Identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if someone in your household becomes ill.
  • Have crates, food, and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets.
  • Make sure all of your pet’s vaccinations are current in the event boarding becomes necessary.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and directions. Include prescriptions from your veterinarian if possible.
  • Ensure all pets have visual identification (collar with ID tag) and a microchip.
  • Make a disaster plan for your pets.

Arranging to have your pet cared for by a family member or friend could become especially important in some situations. It is in the best interest of your pets to have made such arrangements for their care in the comfort of someone’s home. Even if a pet may be cared for at a local animal shelter as a last resort, there are many more stresses and strains as well as the exposure to diseases from a high volume of animals entering the shelter environment.

Current information related to animal health can be found on the following website:

Detailed information regarding COVID-19 may also be obtained from the Orange County Health Department’s website.

For more information about Orange County Animal Services, please visit or call 919-942-PETS (7387).

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