March 20 (UPI) -- Two dogs have tested positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong, prompting officials there to warn residents Friday to avoid kissing their pets.
The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said a German shepherd tested positive for the virus in Pok Fu Lam, a residential area on the west coast of Hong Kong Island. It's the second dog in Hong Kong to test positive for a presence of the virus.
Officials sent both the German shepherd and another dog from the same residence to a quarantine facility at the Hong Kong Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
The department said neither dog showed any signs of disease, and added that it's not believed dogs with the virus can infect humans.
"There is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of COVID-19 for humans or that this virus can cause the disease in dogs," a department spokesman said.
"To ensure public and animal health, the department strongly advises that mammalian pet animals including dogs and cats from households with persons confirmed as infected with COVID-19, or close contacts of COVID-19 infected persons, should be put under quarantine."
Hong Kong officials advised pet owners to wash their hands before and after handling animals, their food or supplies. They also said pet owners should avoid kissing their pets and maintain good hygiene in their homes.
Owners who notice a change in their pets' health condition are encouraged to contact a veterinarian.