Philadelphia vet offers guidelines for keeping pets safe amid COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Many veterinarians have changed the way they do business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Center City, staff at Heart + Paw wear protective gear and collects pets at the front entrance while pet owners wait outside during the appointment.

"We're making sure we can still take care of animal needs as they come up in the safest possible way," said Dr. George Melillo, the Chief Veterinary Officer at Heart + Paw.

He says the precautions are for the people because the latest research shows pets are safe in this pandemic.

"There's no evidence at this time a person can transmit this COVID-19 virus, or the pet can transmit the virus to another person," said Melillo.

That's despite the fact that a tiger at Bronx Zoo tested positive for the virus over the weekend.

The CDC says a tiger is a lot different than a domestic pet, but you should still have a plan for pet care in case you get sick.

"As a precaution, have someone else in the home take care of the pet," said Melillo.

He says you should still follow all usual guidelines to keep your pets healthy, giving them plenty of exercise and keeping them well fed and hydrated. Additionally, owners should practice safe social distancing while out walking their dogs, which means not letting anyone else pet them.

"I think you want to maintain that safe distance of 6 plus feet," he said.
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