Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for animal carers

This content will be updated in the coming days.

Can I leave my home to care for my animals?

Metropolitan Melbourne (Stage 4)

Outside of curfew (5am to 8pm), you can travel to another property to care for your animals, even if it is beyond 5km from your home or outside of metropolitan Melbourne. You should limit travel where you can, wear a face covering and avoid travelling with others where possible.

If you do need to leave home to attend to your animals you should comply with the public gathering requirements, implement sensible biosecurity arrangements and practice good hygiene, including hand hygiene before and after handling animals and their equipment, bedding or food. You are required to wear a face covering whenever you leave your home.

If you own or care for an animal that needs veterinary attention, you should make phone contact with your veterinarian for advice.

During curfew hours (8pm to 5am) you may only leave home to provide emergency care for your animals.

If you’ve been directed to self-isolate, you must not leave your home.

Regional Victoria (Stage 3)

You can travel to another property to care for your animals, but you should limit travel where you can.

If you do need to leave home to attend to your animals you should comply with the public gathering requirements, implement sensible biosecurity arrangements and practice good hygiene, including hand hygiene before and after handling animals and their equipment, bedding or food. You are also required to wear a face covering.

If you own or care for an animal that needs veterinary attention, you should make phone contact with your veterinarian for advice.

If you’ve been directed to self-isolate, you must not leave your home.

Can I leave home to pick up a new pet?

Metropolitan Melbourne (Stage 4)

Yes. You can leave your home to collect a pet you purchased prior to the date this clarification was provided by government on 13 August  2020. If you are adopting from an animal shelter or pound, you are not required to have already purchased your pet.

Once you collect your pet, you must return home immediately afterwards. Animal shelters and pounds are open by appointment only. You should contact the location to arrange an appointment and ensure you can follow their processes for reducing the risk of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you are picking up a pet you should keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others and practice good hygiene, including washing your hands regularly. You are also required to wear a face covering.

In metropolitan Melbourne, the collection of new pets must not take place during the curfew period.

You may travel more than 5km from your home to collect a pet, but the travel cannot be unreasonable. As with other necessary goods, it must be the closest practical location.

Regional Victoria (Stage 3)

Yes, you can leave home to pick up a new pet.

When you are picking up a pet you should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others and practice good hygiene, including washing your hands regularly. You are also required to wear a face covering. Once you have picked up your pet, you must return home straight afterwards.

Travelling interstate is not recommended. If the pet is located interstate, you will need to check with the relevant state authorities to determine if you are able to apply for a permit on these grounds and any requirements for you to quarantine.

If you are unwell, or are in quarantine or isolation, you must not leave home.

Curfew does not apply in regional Victoria but if either you or the new pet are located in metropolitan Melbourne, you must observe the curfew restrictions.

Can wildlife rescue and care networks continue to operate?

Yes. The emergency rescue, care and transport of injured wildlife can continue. If you are conducting wildlife rescue or care you should keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others and practice good hygiene, including washing your hands regularly. You are also required to wear a face covering.

Can veterinary practitioners travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria to provide veterinary services?

All of Victoria is under restrictions. A veterinary practitioner who would normally travel in or out of metropolitan Melbourne may continue for the provision of necessary veterinary services. These activities should be carried out in accordance with the practice’s COVIDSafe Plan and they will require a permit to travel for work.

I am a dog walker in metropolitan Melbourne — can I continue my work?

No, dog walkers cannot operate. If a pet’s welfare is impacted due to an urgent requirement for walking, the owner should consult with a veterinarian.

Can my animal get sick from coronavirus (COVID-19)?

There is currently no evidence that animals play a role in the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to humans.

Cats, dogs and ferrets can contract coronavirus (COVID-19) if they have significant exposure to infected humans. Cats and ferrets may even become ill, but this is a very rare event.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has not been reported in domestic animals or wildlife in Australia.

It is always a good idea for people to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with animals.

What’s the impact of restrictions on animal service businesses?

All businesses with more than five employees must have a COVIDSafe Plan for onsite operations.

Under the restrictions on businesses, animal saleyards, knackeries and transportation of animals (including livestock and pets) can remain operating across Victoria.

Veterinary clinics and related services, including on-farm visits, animal minding services and artificial insemination remain operating across Victoria.

If anyone from outside your household comes onto your farm, everyone should wear a face covering, keep at least 1.5 metres between themselves and others at all times, and regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water.

Page last updated: 15 Sep 2020