During this pandemic, all of our attentions have been focused on keeping ourselves and loved ones safe and healthy. As humans we understand the importance of planning ahead and being prepared, especially in times of crisis. I am sure many of you have made plans should you or a loved one become sick with COVID-19. But, do you have a plan for your pets when you are too ill to care for them?
The same preparation and planning we put in to our own healthcare should likewise apply to our furry family members. As a responsible pet parent, consider making an emergency kit. The kit should include at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s food and any needed medications, preventives, and supplements. Should you not be able to care for your pet while sick, make sure to include a detailed instructional on how and when to administer medications and food, as well as the contact information for your pets(s) veterinarian, groomer, daycare/boarding facility, and a family member or friend that is authorized to make decisions for your pet. Don’t forget to also let your designated caregiver know what personal belongings such as bedding and toys should be packed with your pet(s).
Should you test positive for COVID-19 or suspect you are symptomatic, there are a few preventive measures you should take while still caring for your pet(s). Restrict contact with all pets — including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding (we know this will be hard but it is necessary). If possible, have another member of the family care for the pets(s). If this is not possible or you have a required service animal, please wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
While the above are best practices for ensuring your pet’s safety, please know that at this time the Center for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association have determined there is no reason to think that domestic animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Therefore, there is no reason to remove pets from homes where COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household, unless there is risk that the pet itself is not able to be cared for appropriately. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 and your pet, please consult your veterinarian.