Coronaviruses, COVID-19 and your pets – what you need to know


With the Coronavirus pandemic, we are seeing and hearing a lot of misinformation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on pets. We want to make it easier for you to access the right information to help keep you and your pet’s health a priority.

Last Updated: May 13th, 2020


What is Coronavirus?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes Coronaviruses as a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several Coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the recently identified COVID-19.

What is COVID-19 and can it infect cats and dogs?

  • COVID-19 is a disease caused by the recently identified Coronavirus SARS-Cov2. COVID-19 was unknown before the recent outbreak identified in late 2019.

    Recently, veterinary associations and regulatory authorities have reported cases of cats and dogs that have tested positive for the virus.

    Some of these reported cases have displayed clinical symptoms associated with the COVID-19 infection; these include:

    Mild respiratory signs
  • Gastrointestinal signs including vomiting and diarrhoea

    Most of these pets were reported to be in direct contact with humans who had been infected with the virus (or people who were suspected of being infected with the virus).

    It is important to remember there is still no evidence to show that pets play a role in spreading the virus to other pets or to people. The main transmission pathway for COVID-19 is still human-to-human contact.

    Reports have shown that over 4,000 pets from the United States and South Korea tested for COVID-19 have returned negative results. This highlights how rare it is for dogs and cats to have the virus.
    This is an evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.


Should I change the way I interact with my pet due to COVID-19?

  • If you are healthy and well, you can interact with your pet normally.

    Keeping your dog on a lead while on a walk to keep up with social distancing and to avoid them interacting with other animals outside of your household is recommended.

    You should always practice good hygiene after feeding, walking and playing with your pet; do this by:

    Washing your hands before and after interacting with your pet
  • Regularly cleaning your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys

    However, if you are sick with COVID-19, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) recommends:

    Keeping your pet at home within the affected household
  • Where possible, minimise contact with your pet
  • If you can ask a family member or friend (within the same household) to help care for your pet
  • Ensure you are washing your hands thorougly before and after holding your pet, their food or water bowl
  • Have a plan prepared to care for your pet in the event that you are hospitalised


Does my Pet Insurance cover COVID-19 or other coronaviruses?

If your pet is currently displaying symptoms of coughing, respiratory issues or a fever/elevated temperature, you should seek veterinary advice. Illness conditions, including Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) and Canine Coronavirus (CCV), are generally covered under our Pet Insurance policy (providing the condition was not pre-existing to purchasing your policy)*.

Your Certificate of Insurance (COI) and Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) will outline what you're covered for. You can download a copy of your policy documents through MyPet Portal. Should you wish to make a claim, you can do so quickly and easily through MyPet Portal.


If I am quarantined or hospitalised due to COVID-19 and can’t take care of my pet, can I seek assistance for emergency boarding? 

Your policy may provide cover for emergency boarding of your pet in the event that you are hospitalised for 5 or more consecutive days, leaving you unable to take care of your pet. If you're not hospitalised, but simply quarantined at home because of COVID-19, then emergency boarding will not be covered.

Your Certificate of Insurance (COI) and Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) will outline what you're covered for. Download a copy through MyPet Portal.

We want to reassure you that we're continuing to monitor the latest advice from the Australian Veterinary Association and the WHO, whose recommendations may change with the latest information coming through from ongoing research. And remember, we’re all in this together so let’s keep looking out for each other, and we hope you and your pets remain safe and healthy. 

Additional resources

Further information relating to the Coronavirus can be sourced from the World Health Organisation (WHO) or Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) websites:

Depending on your level of cover, and subject to the terms and conditions of your policy

Benefits are subject to the terms and conditions including the limits and exclusions of the insurance policy. Cover is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 AFSL No. 241436 (Hollard). Woolworths Group Limited ABN 88 000 014 675 AR No. 245476 (Woolworths) acts as Hollard’s Authorised Representative. Any advice provided is general only and may not be right for you. Before you purchase this product you should carefully read the Product Disclosure Statement to decide if it is right for you.