Dr. Mehmet Oz on Wednesday backed up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that people start socially distancing their pets to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“There have been pets both in this country and overseas, cats primarily, they do seem to actually get symptoms,” the host of “The Dr. Oz Show” told “Fox & Friends.”
Oz mentioned the eight big cats that tested positive for coronavirus at New York City’s Bronx Zoo.
“As was demonstrated at the Bronx Zoo, we had a big cat who got sick. Dogs can also have the virus. We know that from a case now in North Carolina,” Oz said.
Until we know more about how the coronavirus impacts animals, social distancing guidelines are now being recommended by the CDC for family pets in the U.S.
Those guidelines include having pet owners take precautions to treat their companions like “family members” during the pandemic, and not let them interact with people or other animals outside the household.
The agency recommends walking dogs on a leash at least six feet from other people or animals and keeping cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other people.
If one is sick with COVID-19 or is suspected to have the virus, the CDC says to limit contact with pets and other animals, “just like you would around other people.”
The new guidelines come after the agency announced two cats in the U.S. had become infected with the virus last week, although officials told the news organization there is no need to send your pet away if you become sick.
“Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding,” the CDC said.
Oz said that he has been keeping his own pets away from other people’s pets as a precaution.
“So, the CDC is saying don’t be afraid of your pets. Socially distance them. Don’t get close to them if you get sick, but, most importantly, don’t let other people who may be sick or other pets who may be ill get close to your pets.”