Monkeypox & Pets

Learn how to protect pets and people from Monkeypox virus infection or exposure.

Infected animals can spread Monkeypox virus to people, and it is possible that people who are infected can spread Monkeypox virus to animals through close contact, including petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas, and sharing food.

People with monkeypox should avoid contact with animals, including pets, domestic animals, and wildlife to prevent spreading the virus.

If you or your pet are exposed to monkeypox

Personal Protection

Persons living in or visiting the home of someone with monkeypox should follow appropriate precautions against indirect exposure and transmission by:

  • Postponing their visit if it is not essential.
  • Wearing a well-fitting mask
  • Avoiding touching possibly contaminated surfaces
  • Maintaining appropriate hand hygiene
  • Avoiding sharing eating utensils, clothing, bedding, or towels
  • Following home disinfection recommendations

Isolating with your pet at home

Here are some basic isolation precautions that would help prevent transmission to pets (and between people):

  • Keep the pet in the house and minimize contact with the pet to prevent transmission to or from the animal.
  • Uninfected people in the household should be the animal’s primary caregiver(s) whenever possible.
  • Keep your pet away from monkeypox skin lesions. Pet contact with skin lesions of infected people probably poses the biggest risk of transmission to the pet, but other types of contact may pose a risk. The degree of risk from airborne exposure is still to be determined.
  • Keep monkeypox skin lesions covered, whenever possible.
  • Limit contact between people and the pet as much as possible. Don’t allow your pet to lie on or near anyone infected with Monkeypox, or to be petted, fed, or handled without personal protection.
  • Keep the pet in a separate room or area of the house as much as possible (being practical and considering the pet’s welfare).
  • Keep the pet away from soiled bandages, clothing or other materials that have come into contact with the infected person’s skin, especially skin lesions.
  • Keep the pet off furniture used by people, including couches, chairs, or beds.
  • Limit the amount of time the pet is in the same airspace, especially in small, enclosed areas.
  • Don’t let the pet sleep in the same bedroom as the patient.
  • Pay close attention to hand hygiene, especially before any direct contact with the animal, or with things like food and water bowls.
  • Maximize ventilation in the house.

Pet Care During Home Isolation and Recovery

Do not surrender, euthanize, or abandon pets because of a potential exposure or Monkeypox virus.

  • Veterinary care: Only seek veterinary care if it is essential and can’t be postponed until the sick person is no longer infectious.
  • Grooming: Do not groom your pet until the sick person is no longer infectious.
  • Time in the yard: Short, supervised periods outside are okay. Prevent exposure to wildlife or through-the-fence transmission to neighboring people or animals.
  • Walking: Consider your environment and circumstances to avoid any and all close contact between the pet and others. Risk of exposure is low If the animal can be walked but still kept away from other people or pets. Do not bring pets to the dog park, or other public areas.
  • Cleaning: Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other products, such as hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners.

Learn more about safely interacting with pets after Monkeypox exposure or infection

How long do these measures need to be kept in place?

Measures to reduce the risk of transmission from the owner should be maintained until the owner has been told they are no longer infectious by their healthcare provider or public health authority. Currently that’s considered to be once all skin lesions have scabbed over and all scabs have fallen off.

What if my pet appears sick after exposure to someone with Monkeypox?

Call your veterinarian if you notice an animal appears sick within 21 days of having contact with a person who has probable or confirmed monkeypox. Animals may appear abnormally tired, uncomfortable, or ill. A rash, or small, elevated, white skin lesions may also appear. 

A veterinarian can help notify your County Health Department and the State Health Authority about potential infection.

Emergency Preparedness