By Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
By now, we all know how easily the COVID-19 virus can spread from person-to-person and just how deadly the ramifications can be, but how does COVID-19 affect our pets? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a small number of pets worldwide are reported to have been infected with the virus after close contact with people who had it.
We are still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is known that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. Many pets who contracted the virus exhibited no symptoms, and of those that did have symptoms, most were mild, and they recovered fully. Serious illness seems to be extremely rare.
You should treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them and not let them interact with people outside of the household. If a person in the house becomes sick, isolate them from everyone, including pets. Keep cats indoors when possible, and do not let them roam freely outside. Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet away from other people outside. Please do not put a mask on your pet as it could cause harm.
If you become sick, have another member of the household care for the pet, if possible. Avoid contact with your pet until you are no longer exhibiting symptoms. If being around your pet is unavoidable while you’re sick, minimize contact, and be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands before interacting with them.
While your pet’s risk of catching COVID-19 is low, it is better to be safe and follow CDC guidelines to ensure they stay healthy. After all, they have been there for us over the past year while we’ve been stuck at home.