By Dr Anna Lautenschlaeger, CuteFairyTails
Sep. 16, 2020: Many pet owners worry about how COVID affects pets, what the potential risks are to their pets’ health and mental wellbeing, and what they can do to support their pets through this period.
Like it is the case with people and how COVID affects them, there is a lot of contradictory information that is being published online about how the virus affects pets, and it is important to use reliable sources, like the CDC website, to stay informed. Here, we have summarized the most up-to-date information on the subject for pet owners, to answer your frequently asked questions.
Can pets contract and spread COVID-19?
While COVID-19 mostly spreads from person to person, it can also spread from people to animals. According to CDC, a small number of pet cats and dogs have been reported to be infected with the virus in several countries, including the United States, and most of them became sick after contact with people with COVID-19. However, there is no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, and therefore the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
How can you protect your pet from the virus?
CDC recommends that you should treat your fluffy family members as you would other human family members and do not let them interact with people outside the household. Also, if a person inside the household becomes sick, please isolate that person from everyone else, including your cats and dogs. Keep your cats indoors when possible, and walk your dog on a leash at least 6 feet away from others.
What COVID-19 related things could put my pet at risk?
Please do not put a mask on your dog (cats are unlikely to allow you to do that anyway), because masks could seriously harm your dog. Please also do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any other products not approved for animal use.
What if humans in your family get infected with COVID-19?
In case you or your human family members get the virus, Mayo Clinic recommends taking the following precautions to protect your pet:
-Isolate yourself from everyone else, including your pet. If possible, have another person in your household care for your pet
-Avoid petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding with your pet.
-If you care for your pet or are around animals while you're sick, wear a cloth face covering. Wash your hands before and after handling animals and their food, waste, and supplies. Also, make sure you clean up after your dog.
Photo courtesy of Cute Fairy Tails
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