Learn more about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan:

Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan's website have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow box in the right or left rail that resembles the link below. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found at:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

Software-based translations do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language. The Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

Effects of COVID-19 on Animals

Updated - March 19, 2021

Experiences and research over the last year have identified some animal species with varying susceptibility to infection with COVID-19. Mustelids, such as mink, appear most susceptible and infection can result in severe clinical symptoms and death, as evidenced by outbreaks on mink farms in a number of countries including Canada The mink outbreaks have resulted in infection in several people, which is the only documented evidence of animal-to-human transmission of the virus. Felines, such as house cats and tigers, are also susceptible to infection; most seem to be asymptomatic although cases of comparatively mild clinical symptoms have been identified. The virus will transmit among feline populations but is not known to spread from cats to humans. Infection in dogs, while not as frequent as in cats, is not uncommon in households where at least one person has COVID-19 but there is no evidence of spread between animals.

Except in the situation involving mink, it is considered very unlikely that an animal would be a source of infection for humans. Most cases of  reports of animals becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 are believed to be cases of human-to-animal transmission, usually from an infected owner to their pet dog or cat. If any person has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating due to contact with a COVID-19 case, they should follow similar recommendations around their animals, as they would around people in these circumstances:

  • Avoid close contact (petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food) with their animals during their illness.
    • Practise good handwashing and avoid coughing and sneezing on animals.
  • If possible, have another member of their household care for their animals.
    • If this is not possible, they should always wash their hands before and after touching their animals, their food and supplies.
  • Restrict their animal's contact with other people and animals outside the household until their illness is resolved or they are no longer required by public health to self-isolate (approximately 14 days).
    • Cats should remain indoors at all times.
    • Dogs should be kept on a leash or within a private fenced area when taken outside for elimination activities, and kept away from other animals and people.

An additional risk to animals is what will happen to them if their owners become ill and are unable to take care of them. You can help reduce these concerns by planning for your pet's care in advance. This includes identifying a family member or friend who will care for your animals if you become ill or are hospitalized. Animal owners should also keep crates, food, and extra supplies on hand in case you are required to stay home for an extended period of time. As always, help protect your animals by making sure all their vaccinations are up to date and that pets have a collar and identification tag. This will help ensure your pet is returned home safely, should it need to be moved from your home because you are unable to care for it yourself.

Livestock and poultry producers have similar concerns about caring for their animals if they or their staff become ill. Producers should be having discussions with their families and employees about who can help care for the animals should someone become ill. Producers should also arrange alternatives for animal care when employees are sick or required to self-isolate for a period of time. Planning should include identifying the minimum level of care that is necessary to maintain the health and welfare of the animals, and making arrangements in advance with friends, family or neighbours for getting a "helping hand" when needed.

We need your feedback to improve saskatchewan.ca. Help us improve