COVID-19, Pets, & Veterinary Care in Northeast Ohio


The COVID-19 pandemic has made life more difficult for everyone, including pet parents and veterinarians. If you have questions about keeping your dogs or cats healthy during the pandemic, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here’s what you need to consider if you have pets.

(We last updated the information below in March 9, 2021.)

How likely are you to get COVID-19?

That depends. If you are in a high-risk group, or if you are directly exposed to a person carrying and shedding the virus, then you are at higher risk of getting the virus and getting sick from the infection. People are still becoming infected because they are not following strict safety guidelines.

How can you avoid getting COVID-19?

  • Wear a mask when you need to go somewhere outside your home.  
  • Stay at least six feet away from others. 
  • Wash your hands often (use hand sanitizer if you aren’t near soap and water).
  • When the vaccine becomes available to you, get vaccinated based on the recommendations for that particular vaccine.
The CDC provides more information on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Can my pet get COVID-19?

Some animals, like dogs and cats, may get infected if they're in close contact with a person who is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. If infected, they may or may not appear to be sick.

If you're sick with the virus that causes COVID-19, then it’s best that your pet isn’t close to you, especially to your face when you cough or sneeze, which can spread the virus. While unlikely, you could infect your pet. Have someone else help take care of your pet while you’re ill and even a short while after you’ve recovered.

If you need to be hospitalized for any reason, make sure that someone can take care of your pet.

Can I get COVID-19 from my pet?

There is no report to date that pets, like dogs or cats, can give people COVID-19. To be cautious, officials report that the risk of getting COVID-19 from a pet is low.

Can I get essential services for my pet?

Yes, but service providers and services that are offered may be more limited in Ohio now that people are concerned about getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals, including pets, are considered essential services. However, not all services that are provided by veterinarians are considered essential. Contact your service provider if you believe you need critical services for your pet.

If you’re concerned about taking your pet to a veterinarian, groomer, boarding facility, or elsewhere for essential care, consider calling ahead. They may or may not be open for business. If they are, ask how they’re planning on reducing the risk that you will get exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 from their facility or staff. They may offer curb-side interactions.

For more complete information, listed below are the best resources we’ve found that give the facts about COVID-19 and the risks to you and your pets.

People and COVID-19: Resources

If you have specific questions about your personal health, call your primary care physician.

Pets and COVID-19: Resources

Dr. Anna M. van Heeckeren studied lung diseases for 15 years and is a public health professional as a veterinarian. She is a member of local, state, and national veterinary associations, as well as national public health associations. She gathered this information as a general guide for people living with pets. 

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