CDC recommends social distancing for pets after some test positive for coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending people follow the same social distancing guidelines with their pets as they would human family members after a small number of animals, including dogs and cats, were reportedly infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. 

CDC guidelines recommend people restrict their pets from interacting with other animals when outside their house and urge people to keep cats indoors when possible and to walk dogs on a leash while maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals. 

The CDC also calls for people to avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather. 

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If a person is sick with COVID-19, the CDC recommends avoiding contact with pets and other animals if possible. If a person must care for a pet while sick, the CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering and washing hands before interacting with them. 

The CDC said most of the small number of animals reported to be COVID-19 positive were infected after having contact with a person with the virus, but the risk of having animals spread COVID-19 to people “is considered to be low.” 

“In the United States, there is no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC said. 

The first case reported in the U.S. of an animal testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 was a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York earlier this month. It was followed by a report of four more tigers and three lions at the zoo testing positive.