Face masks for canines are selling out quickly in China as an ever-increasing number of concerned pet owners are taking precautionary measures to safeguard their four-legged friends amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Fox News cited Daily mail, which was told by Zhou Tianxiao, a seller from Beijing, that the sale of dog masks has increased ten-fold since the coronavirus broke out in the country.
According to Zhou, the masks were originally purposed for protecting the pooches from polluted air.
He told the outlet that, "most [dogs] have started to wear [masks]. Because there is this virus, people pay more attention to their health and their pets' health," and even though "[The dog masks] might not be as professional as the medical masks made for humans, but they are functional."
He further added: "Their main purposes are to block out smog, stop dogs from eating or licking food on the floor and prevent them from being exposed to the virus."
Zhou believes that the dogs might initially find the masks uncomfortable and awkward, but the inconvenience is still better than risking infection.
The coronavirus till now hasn't shown any signs that it may affect animals, but an epidemiologist from China's National Health Commission warned pet owners to practice caution.
Fox News quoted China Daily which was told by the expert that "if pets go out and have contact with an infected person, they have the chance to get infected. By then, pets need to be isolated. In addition to people, we should be careful with other mammals especially pets."
The World Health Organisation website, however, states that "any impact on the health of animals and no particular event has been reported in any species," but as a "general precaution," people coming in contact with animals must "practice general hygiene measures, including regular handwashing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products."