COVID-19 information for pet owners
The COVID-19 Protection Framework (the traffic light system) has been removed in Aotearoa New Zealand. From 13 September 2022, you must still:
- isolate for seven days if you have tested positive for COVID-19
- wear a face mask in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals
We know this has been a tough time for everyone. Please continue to be kind and understanding towards your veterinary team as they continue to do their best for you and your animals.
Visiting your veterinarian
We recommend taking appropriate hygiene precautions when you visit your veterinarian, including washing or sanitising your hands before and after your visit and wearing a face mask if your clinic asks you to.
If your pet needs to visit a vet and you have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact your veterinarian for advice. Non-urgent appointments should be rescheduled until you have completed your isolation.
If your pet needs an urgent vet visit, you will need to arrange for someone outside of your household to take your pet to your veterinary clinic. The person taking your pet to the veterinary clinic will need to collect them from your property via contactless handover. Here are some tips for a contactless handover:
- Maintain 2 metre physical distancing and hygiene measures. The handover should take place outdoors if possible and in a designated area with minimal foot traffic.
- Cardboard boxes should be destroyed after use.
- Cages should be cleaned with normal household bleach and left in the sun to dry. Wear plastic gloves when cleaning the cage.
- If your pet is larger and can be secured safely by a lead and collar, consider securing them in the designated area (for example, in front of your property) for the handover.
Looking after your pet
With COVID-19 in the community, it's important to get prepared now in case you get sick. Make sure you have enough pet food and medication for several weeks, and decide what you will do with your pet(s) if you become too sick to care for them.
You could arrange for whanāu, a friend, or boarding kennel or cattery to care for your pet while you recover from COVID-19. If you're planning to have your pet(s) stay at a kennel or cattery, they will need to be up-to-date with their vaccinations.
If you test positive for COVID-19
Remember, your pet is part of your bubble too! They should not have any contact with anyone outside your bubble while you're isolating.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should avoid close contact with pets. This includes petting, snuggling, being kissed, hugging, or letting pets touch/lick your face or sleep on your bed. Avoid sharing food with your pet.
Make sure you thoroughly wash and dry your hands before and after interacting with your pets or handling pet food bowls, toys, blankets or other equipment.
Risk of COVID-19 infection in animals
There is little evidence that domestic pets such as cats or dogs or livestock species such as cattle, sheep or pigs can transmit COVID-19 to humans.
Aotearoa New Zealand does not currently have validated COVID-19 tests for pets. If you think your pet has COVID-19, please contact your veterinarian for advice. Do not test your pets using human test kits. If your veterinarian recommends a test, they will contact the National Animal Health Laboratory directly.