Pet owners can rest easy that there is no reason to believe that dogs or cats in the United States might be a source of infection for the new coronavirus disease — COVID-19 — or cause its spread according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. And so far, according to the CDC, there have been no reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19.
This coronavirus appears to be primarily transmitted from human to human. As a pet owner, you may have heard of canine coronavirus, an intestinal infection in dogs, especially puppies, and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). These types of coronaviruses have been around for quite some time and are not associated with the current outbreak.
To protect yourself, your family, and possibly even your pets, from this new coronavirus, you should follow these precautions:
- Frequently wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water (use hand sanitizer with more than 60 percent alcohol if you can’t wash)
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick—stay at least three feet away
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw away the used tissues and wash your hands
- Stay at home if you are sick
- Sanitize often-used surfaces in your home and office
If you do become sick with COVID-19, how then should you care for your pet? The CDC recommends that you restrict contact with pets and other animals just as you would with people. Ask another member of your household to care for your pets while you are sick. If you must do it yourself, wash your hands before and after you interact with your pet and wear a face mask. The toughest part for pet lovers is that you must remember that you really should not be petting, snuggling, or sharing kisses or food with your pet!