CDC is updating webpages with the term "mpox" to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision.

Pets in the Home

Playful dog and cat on sofa at home

It is possible that people with mpox can spread the virus to animals through close contact, including petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas, and sharing food. Additionally, some animals infected with mpox virus can spread it to people and other animals.

People with mpox should avoid contact with animals, including pets, domestic animals, and wildlife to prevent spreading the virus. If your pet is exposed to mpox virus:

  • Do not surrender, euthanize, or abandon pets just because of a potential exposure to mpox virus.
  • 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.

If the person with mpox did NOT have close contact with pets after symptom onset, ask friends or family members who live in a separate home to be the animal’s caretaker until the person with mpox fully recovers. Close contact includes petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas, and sharing food.

After the person with mpox is recovered, disinfect your home before bringing healthy animals back; follow guidance in Disinfecting Home and Other Non-Healthcare Settings.

Pets that had close contact with a person with mpox symptoms should be kept at home and away from other animals and people for 21 days after the most recent contact. If possible, infected people should not continue to take care of exposed pets. The person with mpox should avoid close contact with the exposed animal, and when possible, ask another household member to care for the animal until the person with mpox is fully recovered.

In some cases, it may be necessary to isolate and care for animals that have been exposed to mpox in a location other than the home. For example, people who are immunocompromised, pregnant, have young children present (under 8 years of age), or with a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema, should not provide care for animals that had close contact with a person with mpox as they may be at increased risk for serious illness from mpox.

If you have mpox and must care for your healthy pets during home isolation, wash your hands, or use an alcohol-based hand rub, before and after caring for them. It is also important to cover any skin rash to the best extent possible (for example, wear long sleeves or long pants), and wear gloves and a well-fitting mask or respirator while providing care for your animals.

  • Do not put a mask on your pet.
  • Avoid close contact with your pet.
  • Ensure your pet cannot inadvertently come into contact with contaminated items in the home such as clothing, sheets, and towels used by the person with mpox.
  • Do not let animals come into contact with rashes, bandages, and body fluids.
  • Ensure food, toys, bedding, or other items that you provide for your animal during its isolation do not come in direct contact with skin or uncovered rash.

What to do if a pet shows signs of mpox

While we do not know all the symptoms infected animals may have, watch the animal for potential signs of illness including lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, nasal and/or eye secretions or crust, bloating, fever, and/or pimple- or blister-like skin rash. Call your veterinarian if you notice an animal appears sick within 21 days of having contact with a person who has probable or confirmed mpox. A veterinarian can help notify your state public health veterinarian [136 KB, 7 pages] or state animal health official.

  • Do not euthanize pets with suspected mpox unless directed by a veterinarian.
  • 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.

Steps to take if you think your pet has mpox

  • Get your pet tested if they have had close contact with a person with probable or confirmed mpox and they have a new rash or two other clinical signs. Call your veterinarian if you notice an animal appears sick within 21 days of having contact with a person who has probable or confirmed mpox. A veterinarian can help notify your state public health veterinarian [136 KB, 7 pages] or state animal health official.
    • Possible clinical signs of mpox in animals include lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, bloating, nasal and/or eye secretions or crust, fever, and/or pox-like skin lesions (may initially resemble a pimple or blister before progression to a characteristic mpox lesion) or rash.
  • Separate the sick pet or animal from other pets or animals and minimize direct contact with people for at least 21 days after becoming ill or until fully recovered.
    • It is preferable to keep pets or animals with signs of illness isolated in their home and away from anyone who has not had mpox.
    • People who are immunocompromised, pregnant, have young children present (under 8 years of age), or with a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema, should not provide care for sick pets or animals that had close contact with a person with mpox.
  • Wash your hands often and use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for and cleaning up after sick pets or animals. PPE includes wearing gloves, using eye protection (safety glasses, goggles, or face shield), wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator (ideally a disposable NIOSH-approved N95 filtering facepiece respirator), and wearing a disposable gown.
    • If a disposable gown is not available, wear clothing that fully covers the skin (i.e. long sleeves, long pants), and immediately remove and launder clothing after contact with the animal, animal enclosures, or animal bedding.
    • Carefully remove PPE to avoid self-contamination.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand rub or wash hands with soap and water after PPE has been removed.
  • Consult your local public health department for guidelines for waste disposal, but general precautions include:
    • Use a dedicated, lined trash can for all potentially contaminated waste.
    • Do not leave or dispose of waste outdoors as mpox virus infections in wildlife may occur.
    • If appropriate for the species and your plumbing system, flush animal waste down the toilet.
    • Disposable animal housing, disposable rodent bedding, and animal waste that cannot be flushed down the toilet should be sealed in a bag and disposed of properly to prevent these materials from infecting people or other animals, including wild animals and household pests like mice and rats. Follow guidelines for Disinfecting Home and Other Non-Healthcare Settings.
  • Bedding, enclosures, food dishes, and any other items in direct contact with infected animals must be properly disinfected following the Disinfecting Home and Other Non-Healthcare Settings.
  • Soiled laundry and bedding (including disposable rodent bedding) should not be shaken or otherwise handled in a manner that may disperse infectious particles.
  • For household disinfection, follow Disinfecting Home and Other Non-Healthcare Settings.

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