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Coronavirus in Southwest Florida: The latest info, helpful resources

Bad news for pet lovers out there: The CDC has expanded on their social distancing guidelines to include furry friends. This is after several animals have tested positive for coronavirus in the United States. (CNN just reported on a domestic dog, which is believed to be the first dog in the U.S. to contract COVID-19).

Per their website, they recommend people “Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.” They also add that you should do the following if you have pets:

  • Don’t let pets interact with people or other animals outside of your household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with others
  • Walk dogs on a leash, and maintain at least 6 feet distance from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

So far, there have been a small number of pets that were reported to be infected with COVID-19, and they most likely got the virus after being in close contact with a human that had it. They also add that very few of those animals showed signs of the illness.
If you are sick and you need to take care of your pet, the CDC recommends:

  • If possible, have another member of your household take care of the pet while you are ill.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, “including, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.”
  • If you must be around your pet while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering. Also, wash your hands before and after interacting with them.