Are pet food manufacturers still producing dog and cat food?

Pet food makers are still hard at work! PFI members take seriously their responsibility to provide the sole source nutrition that pets need. This includes adapting additional practices or measures to ensure social distancing at their facilities to help keep employees safe.

Is pet food manufacturing considered an essential business?

Across the country, nearly all state governments have declared that pet food manufacturing and other pet businesses are essential. In addition, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued guidance listing this sector as essential. PFI is also advocating that freight operations continue to function as usual, allowing for the ongoing transportation of ingredients and finished product.

Does coronavirus impact pet food and treat products or packaging?

Pet lovers can be assured that pet food and treats are safe. Safety is the number one priority for PFI members, and steps are taken throughout the manufacturing process to ensure rigorous hygiene and employee safety at facilities, including regular cleaning and sanitizing practices.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that “currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.” Evidence suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, may survive for up to 72 hours on certain surfaces and in certain conditions. This means it is extremely unlikely for there to be any active SARS-CoV-2 virus within any unopened pet food or treat container. In addition, studies on past coronaviruses like MERS and SARS show that thermal processing leaves the viruses inactive, meaning that high temperatures kill the virus. The process of cooking a pet food or treat would inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it were present.

When buying new food and handling the packaging, it is important to follow standard sanitary practices, including regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

What should pet owners be doing now?

Pet lovers should ensure they have at least two weeks’ worth of food while only purchasing the amount of food they regularly would need. We recommend also checking with your veterinarian about ordering any prescriptions ahead of time, and ensuring you have sufficient essential pet products such as cat litter. When bringing food home, it is important to still follow recommended storage tips and guidelines to keep it safe. Pet owners should also continue to follow sound sanitary practices when interacting with pets, including washing their hands with soap and water.

We also remind pet lovers to have a plan in place for their dog or cat, and determine who can care for your pet if needed, such as family, friends or a trusted pet sitter.

Can pets spread the coronavirus to humans?

There is no current evidence to suggest that pets in the United States play any significant role in the transmission of COVID-19, according to a range of health experts, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Where can I find additional information about how to care for my pet right now?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) are important national and global resources for information about pet care during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Updated May 1, 2020, 3:00 p.m. EDT