"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," the new CDC guidelines read.
The agency cautioned that more studies are necessary "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." It further noted that it's "a rapidly evolving situation, and information will be updated as it becomes available."
When possible, pet owners should restrict their animals from interacting with animals outside their homes, and people should try to keep cats indoors when possible, the CDC's website states. People should also walk dogs on a leash while maintaining at least a six-foot distance from other animals and people.
People should also avoid going to places like dog parks or dog-walking areas, the agency said.
If a person is sick, guidelines that should be followed include allowing another member of the household to care for pets if possible, avoiding close contact with pets, wearing a face covering, and washing hands before and after any interaction with pets, according to the agency.
"If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care," the notice stated.
The first animal CCP virus-infected case, reported in the United States, was a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York earlier in April. Four more tigers and three lions at the zoo have also tested positive, officials said.