If you’re feeling unwell, it’s best to leave your pets alone. That’s the COVID-19 advice coming from Public Health Ontario this week, as the agency urges Canadians to be aware of potential risks. If you’re sick or have any symptoms, you should avoid snuggling and kissing your furry BFF.

In an online notice, Public Health Ontario (PHO) has answered a number of questions about COVID-19 and our animals, and they’ve got some advice for pet parents.

While the provincial health agency notes that “there is currently no evidence that pets or other domestic animals play a significant role in the spread of COVID-19,” officials still explain that it’s better to be extra-safe than sorry.

To this end, PHO explains that if you become sick, it’s recommended that you avoid contact with pets and other animals, in the same way that you would isolate yourself from other people.

If you do become unwell, the health agency suggests that you avoid “snuggling them, kissing them, letting them lick you, sharing food with them, or letting them sleep in your bed or sit on your lap.” 

This is particularly important, PHO notes, if you or your pet have been exposed to COVID-19.

While dog parks have recently reopened again in the province, PHO is still urging pet owners to be extra careful when they’re out and about with their animals.

“Keep pets indoors as much as possible” recommends the agency. “When dogs are outside, they should be on leash and at least two metres away from other people and animals.”

If you’re feeling particularly sneezy, or if you have a cough, you should wash your hands before touching your fluffy friends.

Additionally, if you think your hairy companion could be sick, you should call a veterinarian ASAP!

While Public Health Ontario acknowledges that there have been few reports of animals becoming infected with the disease, their approach is to treat animals as people, "until more is known."

Back in April, Toronto Zoo confirmed they were closely monitoring all of their animals, after a tiger in New York tested positive for COVID-19.

A B.C. vet is particularly concerned about animals becoming sick right now, and has even created mini COVID-19 tests for pets.

As heartbreaking as it might be to stop snuggling your furry and fuzzy besties, it's what's best for them if you're sick!

If you do feel unwell, anybody in Ontario can now get tested for COVID-19.

*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.

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