Heads up, pet owners: Fido and Fluffy need your help to stay protected from the novel coronavirus, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a new video to help pet owners learn how to keep their furry friends safe.
While your chances of contracting the novel coronavirus from your pet are considered low, preliminary evidence shows that humans can infect certain animals. One study found that cats and ferrets are most at risk, while dogs appear to be less susceptible. (That said, a German shepherd recently became the first dog in the U.S. to test positive for COVID-19.)
For starters, “don’t let your pets interact with people outside of your home, keep cats indoors, walk dogs on a leash, keeping them at least 6 feet away from other people,” the FDA advised. “Consider avoiding dog parks and other crowded public places.
“Though it doesn’t seem like your animals can give you the virus, it appears you can give it to them, so if you’re sick, avoid direct contact with your pets. If possible, have someone else care for them until you are well again.”
However, if it’s not possible to have someone care for your pets, “wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with your pet.”
The recommendations are in line with those from other federal agencies, namely the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which notes that there is is “currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus.”
Since the pandemic began, there have been various reports of animals being infected with the novel virus. At least one dog in Hong Kong has been infected, while two pet cats in New York have also been sickened. A tiger at the Bronx Zoo also tested positive for COVID-19 in April.