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  • Pima County Pets and COVID-19 FAQ's

    Can my pets get COVID-19?

    kittensYes, companion animals worldwide including cats, dogs, and ferrets have become infected after having close contact with people sick with COVID-19. Pets infected with the virus can sometimes get seriously ill but this is very rare. Those that do get sick usually have mild illness and recover fully. Pets may have symptoms such as fever, coughing, sneezing, and lack of energy. If you think your pet may be sick with the virus that causes COVID-19, talk to your veterinarian. Although infected people can spread the virus to animals, current evidence suggests that the risk of infected pets spreading COVID-19 to people is low. Learn more about COVID-19 and pets

    Is it true that animals in zoos have been infected?

    Yes, zoos and animal sanctuaries across the country have battled COVID-19 outbreaks among their animals. These infections are believed to be a result of close contact with keepers and handlers who had COVID-19. We do not yet know all of the kinds of animals that can become infected, but they have included several types of big cats, otters, non-human primates, a binturong, a coatimundi, a fishing cat, and hyenas. Big cats have been especially susceptible to infection and some have died from the disease, including snow leopards in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and in Lincoln, Nebraska. The CDC offers the latest information on what is known and what researchers are learning about COVID-19 in animals.

    Is PACC housing animals whose owners have COVID-19?

    It’s a case-by-case basis. Pet owners can reach out to our Pet Support Center for help. Depending on current census at the shelter, some pets with potential exposure to COVID-19 may be housed at PACC in a non-public area and are segregated from the rest of our pet population, as well as volunteers, for the CDC and AVMA-recommended period of 14 days. During that time, they get kennel enrichment and care from vet techs and staff members, but are not handled. They can be reclaimed by their owner or a designated friend or family member during the period. If they’re not reclaimed at the end of the 14 days, PACC will determine if they need longer-term holding or if they can be made available if owners cannot or do not want to reclaim. 

    How do I plan for my pet’s care if I’m unable to care for them because I have COVID-19?

    dogIt is always a good idea to have a plan in place for your pets in the event that you get sick from COVID-19, or from any serious illness. You can take steps to prepare such as finding a temporary caregiver, preferably someone who your pet knows and likes and who might be able to take them into their home in the event you are hospitalized. The CDC notes that there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to people. Another step you can take is to create a pet emergency supply kit that includes items such as contact information for someone who can care for your animals, your veterinarian’s contact information, vaccination records, food, daily care instructions, and a carrier to transport your pet. Pima Animal Care Center offers details about making a plan and an emergency supply kit

    If I get sick, can I still cuddle with my pets?

    If you get sick with COVID-19, you can help protect your pet from also becoming infected with the virus. If you test positive or have suspected COVID-19, you should avoid contact with your pets and other animals, in the same way that you would avoid contact with people. The CDC recommends that you avoid petting, snuggling, kissing, sharing food, or allowing your pet to lick you or sleep in your bed. There have studies suggesting that cats who slept on their sick owner’s bed may be particularly vulnerable to catching the virus. If you do need to handle your pets while you are ill, you should wash your hands before interacting with them. Do not put masks on your pets and do not use hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other chemical disinfectants on them, as these products can be toxic to your pets.

    Do I need to worry about COVID-19 being carried on the fur of my pets or other pets I interact with?

    The risk of pets spreading COVID-19 to people is low, and there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people from the fur, hair or skin of pets. Do not wipe or bathe your pet with hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other chemical disinfectants, as these products can be toxic to them.

    dog on a bed

    If I am fostering a pet and I get sick, should I bring that pet back to the shelter?

    We are recommending that anyone who can shelters in place with their pet, whether that is a foster pet or owned animal. If you are sick and you need help getting your pet back to PACC, you can contact our Pet Support Center for help.

    If I care for community cats, should I be worried about them getting and spreading COVID-19?

    Because infected people can transmit COVID-19 to cats, one of the best ways you can protect community cats in your care is by getting vaccinated. There is no evidence that cats play a role in spreading COVID-19 to people. Alley Cat Allies has a COVID-19 guide for community cat caregivers with steps you can take to keep the cats in your care safe. These include maintenance of good hygiene practices, including washing hands, wearing a mask and gloves if you are not vaccinated, and arranging for a stand-in caregiver if you become sick with COVID-19.

    I’m experiencing food insecurity or I cannot afford care for my pet due to job loss or other impact of COVID-19. Is there anywhere I can go for help?

    You can visit the Pima Animal Care Center Pet Support Center online or call us at 520-724-2222. Our staff is here to provide counseling and to tell you where you can go for food, supplies and where to find low-cost medical care. We are here to support you and your pets through this uncertain time. 

    You can also visit codysfriends.org to request food assistance for your pets. 

    All information on this page was most updated on November 30, 2021.

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    Animal Care Center

    4000 N. Silverbell Rd.
    Tucson, AZ 85745
    (520) 724-5900
    FAX: (520) 724-5960


    Monday to Friday
    noon to 7 p.m.*

    Saturday & Sunday
    10 a.m. to 5 p.m.*

    *Must be checked in to wait list 45 minutes before close to be seen in adoption and admission department.

    Ajo Substation

    1249 N Well Rd
    Ajo, AZ 85321
    (520) 387-7502


    11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    Wednesday: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    Wednesday: 4:30pm-6:30pm
    Friday:  11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

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