Companion animals and COVID-19: get the facts

Humane Society International/Canada is urging pet owners to continue keeping animal friends safe by following science-based recommendations

Humane Society International / Canada

MONTREAL – In the wake of the unfolding crisis, Humane Society International/Canada is echoing the guidance of public health organizations – including the World Organisation for Animal Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control — that state there is no evidence at this time that companion animals, such as dogs and cats, contribute to the spread of COVID-19. For example, authorities are advising that it is still perfectly safe to continue taking your dog(s) for a walk outside so long as you practice safe social distancing.

Coronaviruses (CoV), including COVID-19, are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases. While suspected to have originated from a wild animal source, it is now a human disease spread from person to person. The canine coronavirus we’ve known for years does not affect humans, cannot be transmitted to humans, and is not COVID-19.

Émilie-Lune Sauvé, HSI/Canada senior campaign manager for companion animals, stated: “We are urging pet owners to stay properly informed and to continue caring for their animal friends. Science tells us that our animals are not at risk and should be kept safe with us, their families.”

Dr. Gail Hansen, DVM, MPH of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, added, “At this time we do not have evidence that pets can get or spread COVID-19, although it is always good for people to practice careful hand-washing after handling your pet and after picking up and disposing pet waste. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick, so you and your pet can get the best care.”

HSI/Canada is also urging those with the means to do so to contact their local animal shelters by phone or online and consider adopting or fostering animals to help reduce the potential strain on shelters during this difficult time.

For further information, please consult this COVID-19 and companion animals FAQ from HSI/Canada’s partner organization, the Humane Society of the United States, and help spread the facts. This FAQ exists to counter potentially harmful misinformation while giving human-animal families the means to stay safe and informed.

Companion animals are precious members of our families and a source of great comfort during difficult times. Please keep them safe with you at home!

To arrange an interview, please call or email the media contact below.




Media contact: Christopher Paré, Director of Communications, HSI/Canada – office: 514-395-2914 x 206, cell: 438-402-0643, email:

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