While medical professionals have found no conclusive proof COVID-19 can spread from humans to animals, caution is still being urged when it comes to pets. As more and more people are in self-isolation, those same people, potentially carrying the novel coronavirus, will be spending more time than ever with their furry friends.

As such, it is important for pet owners to exercise similar caution with pets as they would with people for the duration of this outbreak. Owners should maintain the usual standards of pet hygiene and health, bathing them regularly to prevent the spread of germs and keeping up with vet visits. They should also be sure to wash their hands regularly, especially before interacting with pets after returning home.

“Keep pets and their supplies out of the kitchen, and disinfect pet habitats and supplies outside the house when possible,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its official website. “Never clean supplies in the kitchen sink, food preparation areas, or the bathroom sink.”

Individuals that have been officially diagnosed with COVID-19 are also urged to take extra precautions when in self-isolation. To ensure the health and safety of their pets, these patients should avoid interacting with their animals physically, including but not limited to “petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food,” according to the CDC.

While no definitive evidence has been found to show that animals can contract the virus, at least two dogs in Hong Kong has tested positive for coronavirus. The animals, a German shepherd and a 17-year-old Pomeranian, reportedly showed no symptoms associated with the virus. At least one of the animals’ owners tested positive for the disease but it is unclear if they got it from or gave it to their pet. The Hong Kong government has urged owners not to abandon their pets during this time.

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