Prepare Your Pet

These are challenging times for all of us. There are so many unknowns about the risk of COVID-19 and how this may affect us all. One great comfort many of us have is that while we are at home is our ability to spend time with our pets. The animals in our lives are a source of comfort in the most trying times, and I’m sure that all of our animal companions are happy to have someone home with them all day. At the same time there have been many questions and concerns about how to interact with animals during this crisis and whether they bring additional risks. Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets spread COVID-19 to people. Your current plan of action should be ensuring your pet’s emergency plan is updated (see below for more information).

We have compiled some questions and answers about animals and COVID-19 from sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Read more here.

Pet Emergency Prep Plan

Pet parents are always encouraged to develop an emergency preparedness plan for their pets should someone in your home become ill or require hospitalization and are unable to care for them due to illness.

Download Checklist PDF here.

Identify a pet caretaker

If you become ill or hospitalized, it’s important to have someone available who can care for your pet in your absence. This can be a friend, family member, or neighbor, but above all make sure you’ve discussed your plans with this person and let them know about any special needs your pet may have, such as medication or a feeding schedule. It is important to identify multiple caretakers that would be able to care for your pets should you not be able to. Providing your pet caretaker with a spare set of house keys ensures that they will be able to access your pet in an unexpected emergency.

Assemble a go bag

Have crates or carriers, leashes, wet and dry food (at minimum five days worth), dishes, a few toys, and your pet’s medicine packed up in an easy-to-carry bag. All medications should be documented with dosages and administering directions and including the prescription from your veterinarian is also helpful. If someone else needs to take care of your pet, all their supplies will be easy to find. Add a supply of water, and this bag is also useful in the event of a natural disaster, evacuation, or anything that requires you leave quickly with your pet.

Keep vaccines records readily available

If your pet needs to be emergency boarded, they may be required to be up-to-date on their vaccines. Check with your local veterinary office to see if they’re offering vaccine services at this time. Always keep a copy of your pet’s medical records in their go bag or somewhere easy to find so you can provide this information when asked.

Tag and microchip

Although a collar with a visible ID tag and a microchip are always encouraged, it’s especially important when someone else is caring for your pet. If your pet is temporarily at another person’s home in an unfamiliar area, a tag and microchip can make it more much likely that they’ll be returned to you. If you’ve moved or changed your phone number, always check that your pet’s ID tag and microchip have been updated with the correct information.

Protecting Your Pet If You Are Diagnosed With COVID-19

The CDC provides the following recommendation: If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. It is recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help ensure both you and your animals stay healthy.

When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. Avoid contact with your pet including, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

Important Resources

For trusted sources on up-to-date information for pets and people, Potter League for Animals recommends the following: