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Concerns rise over pandemic’s impact on family pets

City of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Police Animal Control Officer with pets of a COVID-19 patient

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara Police Department is concerned about the pandemic’s effect on the furry family members of those that become sick.

On July 7, a Santa Barbara Police Animal Control Officer, wearing personal protective gear, entered the residence of a COVID patient currently in the hospital. A small dog and a cat were located.

Their owner called the police, concerned for the animals’ wellbeing. Due to the seriousness of their illness, the owner wished to surrender ownership.

The animals will be placed in quarantine for 14 days, with animal care providers carefully monitoring them.

There is still more to learn about how COVID-19 affects animals. A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reported to be infected with the virus, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19

According to the CDC, owners should treat their pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection and limit their pet’s interaction with people outside their household.

CDC recommendations for pet owners:

  • Keep cats indoors when possible and do not let them roam freely outside.
  • Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.
  • Avoid public places where a large number of people gather.
  • Do not put face coverings on pets. Covering a pet’s face could harm them.
  • Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any other products not approved for animal use.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.

If you get sick with COVID-19, the CDC recommends:

  • 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.
  • 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 cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
  • 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. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.
Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Genelle Padilla


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