There have been small news items over the last month about cats and dogs testing positive for COVID-19 — including four tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo — and now the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is cautioning pet owners from allowing their pets to get too social.
"While the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low," the CDC writes in a new advisory, "a small number of pets have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after contact with people with COVID-19."
Because of this, dog owners are being told to keep dogs leashed and at least six feet away from other dogs and people, and cat owners are being told to keep cats indoors if at all possible. And the CDC is suggesting that people who show symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate themselves from their pets.
As KRON 4 reports, dog owners are also being told to steer clear of dog parks and public parks where a lot of other dogs are congregating.
"Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household," the CDC writes. "If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets."
Pets are apparently susceptible to the same respiratory infection from this virus as people, though it is not clear if any human cases have been linked to a transmission from a pet.
Given that dog parks are an essential part of life for many San Franciscans and their pooches, this is going to be a tough pill to swallow.
"Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by the virus that causes COVID-19 and the role animals may play in the spread of COVID-19," the CDC says.