Fact Finders: New guidelines to protect your pets during coronavirus outbreak

Fact Finders: New guidelines to keep pets safe from COVID-19

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A new study shows the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans was detected in a dog.

Three of the pug’s family members in North Carolina tested positive for COVID-19. He is believed to be the first dog in the U.S. to have contracted the virus.

So what does the diagnosis mean for your dog or cat at home?

While still learning about the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it appears it can spread from people to animals in some situations. The CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including cats and dogs, infected after mostly close contact with people with COVID-19.

What to do if you own pets

The CDC recommends that you treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

[ Fact Finders: Can my pet get coronavirus? ]

Protect pets if you are sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with people. Until we know more about this virus, people sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet including, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19.

The CDC says right now, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 and the risk of that happening is low.

Pima Animal Care Center, The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and The Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter and Sanctuary are asking pet owners to have a plan in place for their pets in the wake of COVID-19. They’re asking pet owners to find a temporary caregiver in case your get sick and have to be hospitalized and to put together an “emergency kit." That kit should include medical records, medication, food, treats and any other supplies necessary to care for your pet for at least two weeks.

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