Given the new mandates from Governor Reynolds today for several counties in Iowa, and recent mandates imposed by the City of Waterloo, we thought it may be helpful to address some frequently asked questions and give some helpful hints in taking care of your pets during this difficult time.       

According to the CDC, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be extremely low, and in the small number of cases reported worldwide, including cats and dogs, most were caused from close contact with people infected with the virus. Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, the CDC recommends that we are to treat pets as we would any other human family member to protect them from a possible infection.     

- Keep cats indoors when possible and do not let them roam freely outside.     

- Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet away from others.     

- Avoid public places where a large number of people gather.  Dog parks may not be the best place to be during the pandemic, since it is still unclear how the virus may be passed from animals to other animals.     

- DO NOT PUT A MASK ON YOUR PET.  Chances are much greater that a mask will harm your pet, rather than protect them.       

- DO NOT WIPE OR BATHE your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any other products not approved for animal use.      

Currently, there is no evidence that the virus can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets.       

If you are sick with COVID-19, you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with people.       

- When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.       

- Avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food, and sleeping in the same bed.     

- If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a mask and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.   

Symptoms that could indicate COVID-19 infection in your pet:     

- Fever     

- Coughing     

- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath     

- Lethargy     

- Sneezing     

- Runny nose     

- Eye discharge     

- Vomiting     

If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, call your vet immediately.