This study examines the possibility of the family pet serving as a reservoir for group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infections in humans. We obtained oropharyngeal cultures from children with acute pharyngitis and concurrent oropharyngeal cultures from their household pets. Children with culture-proved group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis were detected in 26 of 42 households surveyed. Oropharyngeal cultures were also collected from a group of children without pharyngitis and their pets. Additionally 149 dogs and cats from a local veterinary hospital were cultured from 371 body sites including the oropharynx, axilla and vagina. All beta-hemolytic bacterial isolates were identified by colonial and microscopic morphology, catalase and pyrrolidonylarylamidase production, bacitracin susceptibility and serogrouping. No group A beta-hemolytic streptococci were recovered from any of the body sites surveyed from a total of 230 animals. Based on these findings, the family pet seems to be an unlikely reservoir for group A beta-hemolytic streptococci.