The current unprecedented global lockdown as a result of COVID-19 has impacted every individual and institution globally. Furthermore, it’s not just humans suffering from this – our beloved pets, particularly dogs and cats, around the world are too. Their suffering is primarily from the misinformation circulating around the world on whether pets can be a source of COVID-19 infection. As a result, people are confused and taking some extreme measures including abandoning dogs and cats in the street and in shelters. 

Members of International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) coalition would like to draw global attention to the damage this misinformation causes and would like to stress that there is absolutely no evidence that cats or dogs are a source of COVID-19 infection. They can be infected not infectious.

Furthermore, there is currently no evidence of animal fur as a fomite transmission route to people of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (fomites are something that can be contaminated with an infectious agent and then transmit that agent onwards). 

As such, we strongly urge everyone, particularly global media outlets to exercise caution; to be responsible and not use alarmist headlines whilst reporting and sharing information on this issue.

Our advice remains to practice good hygiene with pets; washing hands frequently and before preparing their food. In an abundance of caution, if you are sick with COVID-19 you should avoid close contact with your pets. These precautionary measures will keep your pets safe from the virus. 

Keeping dogs and cats indoors when they are used to outdoor access is very likely to be stressful for both the pets, and the owner; stress can lower immunity, and this is a time when immunity needs to be at its highest. Let’s make sure we keep our mental health and well-being, as well as theirs, protected during these uncertain times.

Further information

About International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) Coalition

ICAM supports the development and use of humane and effective companion animal population management worldwide. The coalition was formed in 2006 as a forum for discussion on global dog and cat management issues.

Our key goals are to:

  • Share ideas and data
  • Discuss issues relevant to population management and welfare
  • Agree definitions and hence improve understanding
  • Provide guidance as a collegial and cohesive group

Contact information:

Twitter: @ICAMCoalition