Some tips on keeping your pet safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

There is so much anxiety and concern growing each day surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provided some useful information on keeping our pets safe during this human health crisis and they are encouraging pet owners to include their pets in their emergency plans.


We have all been paying very close attention to the news lately, and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has explained that the infection of COVID-19 results from human to human transmission. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has stated that there is zero evidence that dogs or cats can spread COVID-19 or become ill from it.


“The ASPCA is committed to prioritizing the health and safety of pets and their owners, and we are closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19,” said Dr. Stephanie Janeczko, vice president of ASPCA Shelter Medicine Services. “A pet’s first line of defense is a well-prepared owner, and we strongly encourage pet owners to take the necessary precautions and incorporate pets into their preparedness plans to keep their family – including their pets – healthy.”


The ASPCA is encouraging pet owners to do the following:


  1. Keep Washing Your Hands: There is still no current evidence that the COVID-19 can be transmitted from humans to companion animals, or that companion animals can transmit the virus to humans. Following the CDC’s guidelines, it is a great idea to follow basic hygiene practices around your pets. This does include regularly washing your hands through the day including before and after coming into contact with your pet, their food, or any of their supplies.


  1. Be SAFE: There have not been any reports of companion animals becoming sick from the virus, it is still recommended that people who have contracted COVID-19 limit their contact with their pets until there is more information available. If you are under medical attention for having the virus, you should not have close contact with your pet and another member of your household should care for them. If you are the only member of your household, you should still maintain those good hygiene practices and wear a face mask if it is possible.


  1. Keep Supplies on Hand: It would be a good idea to put together a kit that has the essential supplies for your pet in case of emergencies. Your emergency kit for your pet should include a 30-day supply of your pet’s meds, at least two weeks’ worth of food and water, their medical records with the veterinarian’s contact information and other supplies like litter (for your cat) and a food/water bowl. Make sure that your pets wear their collars and the ID tags on their collars have the most accurate and up to date information. Many ID tags include the pet’s name, your telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. It would also be a good idea to write your pet’s information and your information on your pet’s carrier.


  1. Always have an Emergency Caregiver: Consider a family member, friend, neighbor, or boarding facility that could help you with your pet’s short-term or long-term care. It's good to have that person aware that they are your emergency caregiver and that they have all the necessary documents for your pet in the case of an emergency.


Have all of your Pet’s Information in one place: Your emergency caregiver has not lived with your pet as you have, so it will be easier for them to have all of the information about your pet in one place. You should include your pet’s habits, food preferences, any medical conditions and medications they have to take, the veterinarian’s contact information, medical history with their vaccination records, and any behavioral tendencies.