Coronavirus originally came from an animal source and is primarily spreading from person to person, but it can, and has, spread from people to animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To keep ourselves and our pets safe, it's recommended that we keep our four-legged friends away from anyone outside the household — even other pups at the park.
You know how to keep yourself safe during this pandemic: Wear a face mask when in public, keep a distance of 6 feet from the nearest stranger and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water to get rid of germs. But what should you do for your furry family members, especially ones you may be fostering right now?
According to the World Organization for Animal Health, it is possible for animals to become infected through close contact with humans who have coronavirus. The first animal to test positive in the United States was a tiger that was exposed to a sick staffer at the Bronx Zoo. Separately, a small number of dogs and domestic cats have been infected too.
To keep your pets safe, the CDC recommends that you treat your animals as human family members. Do not let them interact with people or animals outside of your household and, if a person in your home becomes sick, isolate them from everyone including pets.
Other guidelines include keeping cats indoors when possible, walking dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals, and avoiding dog parks or public places where large numbers of people and dogs gather. Make sure to talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your pet’s health. Take care of yourself too by learning how to manage coronavirus anxiety and stress.