Domestic animals and COVID-19

News and alerts

See the latest updates from the Australian Government (

We continue to actively monitor and assess the dynamic COVID-19 situation. This includes any potential implications for animals.

How COVID-19 spreads

The current spread of the COVID-19 virus is due to transmission between people.

Genetic analysis suggests the virus that causes COVID-19 emerged from an animal source overseas. Scientists are still studying the emergence of the disease. There is currently no evidence of transmission of the virus from domestic animals—either pets or livestock—to people.

Has COVID-19 been detected in animals in Australia?

The COVID-19 virus has not been reported in domestic animals (pets or livestock) or wildlife in Australia.

Can animals become infected?

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus. There are many other types of coronaviruses that can infect animals. Some of these may cause animals to become sick. They are different to the COVID-19 virus.  There have been reports of isolated cases of domestic animals overseas testing positive for the COVID-19 virus following close exposure to owners that were confirmed to be sick with COVID-19. Scientists continue to study the COVID-19 virus. This includes if and how animals may be affected. 

The World Organisation for Animal Health has confirmed that there continues to be no evidence that companion animals have spread the disease, or play a significant role in this human disease. Human outbreaks are being driven by person to person spread. 

See advice on COVID-19 and animals (World Organisation for Animal Health).

Should animals be tested?

The current spread of the virus is due to transmission between people, not through contact with domestic animals. Testing animals is currently not a priority in accordance with the latest scientific information.

Read a policy statement from the Animal Health Committee on COVID-19 diagnostic testing and surveillance in animals.

Importing your cat or dog into Australia

Find out about the impacts of COVID-19 on the importation of cats and dogs to Australia.

Advice for animal owners, managers and handlers

Take precautionary measures to look after yourself and your animals. Follow good hygiene and biosecurity practices. These practices assist with COVID-19 and beyond.

Make sure to follow the directions given by human and animal health authorities in your state or territory.

Good hygiene and biosecurity practices

Wash your hands after contact with animals. Make sure animal housing conditions are clean. These are important parts of routine animal management.

Landholders should also continue to implement good on-farm biosecurity practices. See advice on farm biosecurity plans (Animal Health Australia).

What if I or someone in my household get COVID-19?

If you are sick, avoid or minimise close contact with your animals as a precaution. This includes face-to-face contact, sharing food and close sleeping arrangements with your pets.

Prepare a plan, including any alternative arrangements for the care of your animals just in case you become sick or need to self-isolate. If you must care for your animals, or be around them while you have COVID-19, continue to practice good hygiene and biosecurity practices. This includes washing your hands before and after contact with animals.

You must not leave your home if you are directed to remain there. Your actions could continue to spread COVID-19. 

If your pet or livestock requires veterinary attention or treatment you should contact your veterinarian by phone for advice on their management.

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Last reviewed: 30 September 2020
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