Advice for pet owners

On this page you will find the current UK status for COVID-19 & Pets, Government advice for pet owners, and general advice and resources for pet owners including advice on behavioural changes in your pet, and looking after your puppy/kitten. You will also find advice for breeders and animal related businesses. 

Some government guidance and information may vary in different parts of the UK therefore please check country advice for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and also, for any local variations within each country. Our Covid-19 homepage has further information on transitioning plans intended to ease the lockdown restrictions specific to each country.

Updated as of 27th May 2020.

Current UK status for COVID-19 & pets

Currently there is no evidence to suggest that pets might transmit the disease to humans. However, pets could act as fomite (carrier) of the virus on their fur for short periods in the same way that other surfaces can carry the virus from one place to another.

Government advice for pet owners

Government advice for pet owners is here

Current UK Government advice is that there is nothing to suggest pets may transmit the disease to humans. Pets could be a carrier (fomite) of the virus on their fur for short periods of time, just as other surfaces can carry the virus from one place to another. In line with the general advice on COVID-19, you should wash your hands regularly including before and after you come into contact with animals and pets.

Please ensure you regularly check for any updates to Government advice.

Pet Health

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) - Advises that people who are ill with COVID-19 should limit close contact with their pet until more is known about the virus. When handling pets, adhere to basic hygiene measures. This includes hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food. Further information is here

World Health Organisation (WHO) - Practices can share their infographic on their websites or on social media to allay any fears clients might have about the virus and their pets. It can be accessed here

World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) - Our global Association’s guidelines are here 

Please note: as the situation will vary depending on each country’s situation, not all information will be applicable to the UK

Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) – find updates and resources from FVE here 

Federation of Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECVA) - BSAVA's European Association’s guidelines for practices are here and for clients here 

Please note: these are general European guidelines and again, not all information will be applicable to the UK situation.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) - AVMA have general resources alongside those specific to their region available here.

Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) - general information from CFSG can be found here and a range of CFSG guidance on COVID-19 can be found here. See COVID-19 resources on top tips about how to look after your pet during the COVID-19 crisis and also, guidance on walking some else’s dog here.

Advice and resources for pet owners

BSAVA Advice to clients

BSAVA has produced advice for clients as to whether or not your pet can be vaccinated or neutered during the COVID-19 crisis. It outlines what to expect when you contact your vet to discuss vaccination or neutering for your pet. Your vet is required to risk-assess each case and apply their professional and clinical judgement when deciding on the best course of action for you and your pet’s individual circumstances whilst keeping in mind government requirements relating to travel and social distancing. Please see vaccination advice here and neutering advice here.

General advice on caring for your puppy, kitten or rabbit is available from BSAVA Petsavers Guides here.

Pet Behaviour

The BSAVA and BVBA have put together a Q&A for pet owners to help them prepare their pets for return to normal life as lockdown eases. The Q&A explains some key behavioural issues that might be encountered by owners and how these can be prevented and managed. Topics include separation-related issues, animals becoming anxious as the world around them becomes busier and noisier, and puppies lacking appropriate skills when greeting animals (including dogs and people) from other households. Please access the Q&A here.

RCVS Advice to clients

RCVS have issued advice for clients that aims to manage client expectations of the services veterinary practices can offer during the current situation. It should help them understand how vets are currently required to prioritise public health and safety, whilst also working to uphold animal health and welfare in extremely challenging circumstances. You can point clients to this advice which is available here.

BVA Advice to clients

The following advice on pet behaviour has been made available from the BVA -

Advice for all clients regarding behavioural changes in their pets

Advice sheets for kitten owners

Advice sheets for puppy owners

Advice for Breeders & Animal related Businesses (excluding veterinary practices)

CFSG has provided advice for breeders and animal related businesses (excluding veterinary practices) to support them operating in a safe manner to protect the health of their staff and clients. Government is keen to see businesses continue to operate unless they are on the list of explicitly banned businesses and venues. This is subject to businesses complying with the requirements relating to social distancing and hygiene. Further information can be found here and here

Animal Welfare Network Wales (AWNW) has issued similar information for Wales in their guidance for animal related businesses.

The Kennel Club have issued advice for breeders which you can find here

CFSG have issued Guidance for companion animal rescue and rehoming organisations which you can find here

Animal Welfare Network Wales (AWNW) has issued similar information for Wales in their guidance for animal rescue and rehoming organisations.

Please note: we are keen to help the veterinary community access relevant advice and information during these uncertain times. Whilst we will do our best to screen the information we share for relevancy and accuracy, BSAVA are not liable for any content produced by third parties.


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