The CDC says the chance of cats and dogs passing the coronavirus onto humans is low, but it appears that pet owners can spread the disease to animals if they are in close contact.
Owner of Case Veterinarian Hospital, Dr. Carla Case McCorvey, says it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your cats and dogs.
She says to avoid other humans and animals with your pets just as you are with your own family.
“It’s very, very unlikely, however, it is out of an extreme abundance of caution that they’re asking us to not really handle our pets or be with our pets if we ourselves are sick with a respiratory issue,” McCorvey said.
“When we’re sick we want to sit around and cuddle with our pets and that’s not really what we should be doing until we know more about this virus,” she added.
McCorvey says there are still a lot of unknown factors when it comes to COVID-19 and animals. She suggests avoiding certain interactions, like letting them eat off of your plate or lick your face to keep them safe.
“I would not be afraid if contact occurs,” McCorvey said. “They’re just being as careful as they can while we learn more and more about this virus.”
McCorvey also warns about other repercussions of quarantine for your pets, including overfeeding them and making sure they are on a leash when you walk them.
She also warns that pets could experience separation anxiety once self-isolation comes to an end.
“Lots of people are getting new puppies and kittens and they’ve had their owners with them all the time, 24/7,” McCorvey said, “There’s going to be a lot of separation anxiety.
“So that would be something for you to ask your veterinarian about ahead of time; maybe a couple of weeks before you’re leaving so you can kind of ween them into being used to not having you home.”
McCorvey says pets can show mild symptoms if they are infected with COVID-19. She says veterinarian offices are open since they are essential businesses, so it’s a good idea to bring in your animals if they begin to show different behaviors, such as not eating or avoiding contact.
“If there is anything going on, it is a lot better to see them sooner rather than later because there’s a lot of things we can fix and a lot of things we can mitigate if we catch it early,” McCorvey said.