First COVID-19 Dog Dies, But Not Likely from COVID-19: What We Know So Far About Pets with COVID-19

By Sara Miller

Sara Miller | August 10th, 2020

You may have heard that Buddy, the first dog in the United States to be confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19, passed away. We want to remind you what we do know about pets and COVID-19 to alleviate fears, and share a few key points about Buddy’s case.

While Buddy did test positive for COVID-19 from samples collected on May 15, he tested negative from samples collected on May 20. When he passed away on July 11th, he hadn’t been tested again, but they believed that Buddy likely had Lymphoma which would have contributed to his death.

Buddy’s contraction of COVID-19 begs the question, are animals with pre-existing conditions more susceptible to COVID-19? We don’t know. But, here is what we do know about pets and COVID-19 at this time.

  • Your pets are not a danger to you. There is no proof that companion animals can spread COVID-19 to humans. Keep snuggling them as long as you are healthy!
  • Only 23 companion animals (25 total animals) in the US have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Pets seem to be contracting COVID-19 from their owners when precautions aren’t taken.

Current Recommendations to Keep Your Pets Safe During COVID-19

With the death of Buddy, the safety of your pets during this pandemic is likely front of mind! What can you do to keep your pets safe during this time? There are a few things.

  • Your pets should be social distancing with you! Meaning, don’t allow your pets to interact with people or pets outside your household.
  • Keep your cats indoors when possible. This doesn’t mean bring stray cats into your home. Leave stray cats alone, unless they are in danger!
  • Walk your dog(s) on a leash and maintain at least six feet of distance from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you should distance yourself from your pets, just like you would the people in your household. This doesn’t mean your pets need to leave your household. You just need to avoid contact and have someone else in your household care for them.
  • Make an emergency plan for your pets. Should you get sick and need to be hospitalized, your pet might need to go stay somewhere else.


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