Animal experts are mortified by a disturbing trend where owners of dogs and cats are putting face masks on their pets.
Pet owners are fixing face masks to their cats and dogs and posting images to social media, despite little evidence suggesting pets can become infected with Covid-19.
Melbourne vet Dr Melissa Meehan told Yahoo News Australia that putting a face mask on a dog could put unnecessary stress on their pet, and in worst cases could prove deadly.
"As a vet I am constantly treating dogs and cats that suffer from stress and anxiety, which impacts on their health and mental wellbeing and also causes behavioural issues," Dr Meehan said.
"Putting a mask on a dog or cat can absolutely cause distress."
The mask also impairs the animals' breathing, which can cause stress or death.
She said there is a higher risk in brachycephalic breeds that already have difficulty breathing.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has since been slammed for sharing a photo of a dog wearing a mask.
Andrews said the dog, who was a peer-support dog for Ambulance Victoria was a "great mask model".
Other vets are also concerned Andrews' photo might convince pet owners their animal needs a face mask to prevent Covid-19.
Dog behaviourist and author Lara Shannon told Yahoo News Australia she understands it was meant to be a fun photo, but it sends the wrong message.
She also stressed putting a face mask on a pet is "not the safe thing to do".