Pets and COVID-19

Safe at Home: Pet Parenting through COVID-19

Pets are our companions, our family.  The motto of Safe at Home works for humans but many of our four legged family Safe at Homemembers  (if you believe the MEMEs) are stuck at home with us.  During this time of COVID-19 life is different for all of us.

COVID-19 presents new concerns for pet parents.  Can we get them sick? Can they carry the disease? What should we do if we can’t care for our pet due to illness?  We are learning more every day about how to live our lives.  After this No matter where you live, you need to have an emergency plan for natural or man-made disasters.  This includes a global pandemic.  This new post is an updated version from my 2019 Disaster Preparedness for Pets.

We are in the middle of the first pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu, pet parents should take time to consider what needs to be done in regards to pets health and wellbeing

COVID-19 Carriers?

Infectious disease experts, 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 other animals, including people.  It is highly unlikely that your pet’s fur can serve as a fomite (objects that may carry infection).  In theory it is possible for a COVID-19 – Positive person to sneeze or cough on their pet, leaving droplets containing the virus.  It is very unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 by petting or playing with your pet.  As always, after interacting with animals you should wash your hands.  Don’t forget to keep your pets well groomed and clean food and water dishes frequently.

This pandemic is a type of natural disaster. There are many things pet parents should consider (at all times)

Safe at Home, Stay Safe Outside

Most of us in the US are on “Stay at Home” orders.   Getting our dogs outside is a matter of health and hygine.    Fresh air does us all good but we must be responsible.  Adhere to social distancing guidelines.

IF you are comfortable with others interacting with your dog, remember the six feet rule. Don’t disinfect your dog with chemicals. This is dangerous and potentially deadly.

ID & Info

Sheltering in places is keeping more of us at home. Don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security.  Pets always need identification. Vaccination history and ID is doubly important if pets are separated from owners during an emergency or are placed in temporary care of friends.

  • Types of ID
  1. Keep your pets’ identification up-to-date and readable.
  2. They should have an ID tag with at least their name and your phone number. Including additional contact numbers or a special tag for your travel destination is also helpful.
  3. Permanent identification is a basic need for every dog and cat. Collars can come off. There are safety collars (very popular for cats) called “breakaway” collars. This allows for a pet who may be stuck, by the collar, to pull hard enough to free themselves but leaving the collar and ID tag behind. Microchips are an essential back-up option to proper external identification.  Microchips should never replace the first line ID of a collar and tag.

You can read more about the importance of pet identification on my blog post ID, Don’t Let Pet’s Leave Home Without It.

Always keep an up-to-date hard copy or utilize and an App or simply save (and organize) images of the vaccine records on your phone.


What if I become sick with COVID-19?

If a pet parent becomes COVID-19 positive, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends pet owners have a common sense approach with animals in the home. Those who are sick with COVID-19 should limit contact with animals.  If you don’t have family or friends who live with you that can care for your pet should you become ill, select a caregiver now before it becomes an emergent situation.

Create a Go Kit/Emergency Bag for your pet(s) and have a dedicated caregiver know where and have access to it.

  • Caregiver

Arrange a safe place for your pets in case you can’t care for them. Have a plan in case you must be hospiatlized. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your home that you can help each other with animal evacuation. Make sure they have written permission to care for your animals and access to your pet emergency kit and travel gear.

Be sure to discuss your expectations with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.

  •  Go Kit

An Emergency Preparedness Kit is easy to assemble and essential to have for all types of emergencies, even a shelter in place.

FEMA recommends a Go Kit to have in your home to make quick exits during a natural disaster easier.  Pets should have a go bag as well. Store an emergency kit in an area easy to access, with your human prep kit so you won’t forget it.  emergency supply kit packed and ready.

Get your “Go- Kit” together – its not just for humans.  A Grab And Go kit for your pet is easy and essential for caring for your pet in an emergency.

Download my Pet Emergency Preparedness Checklist so you won’t forget what to include as you prepare your emergency go bag.

Here is the top items on the list:

  • Five days of food & water
  • Medications
  • Bedding
  • Waste disposal bags

Stock your Pets Emergency Prep Kit with all of the items on the checklist.

Veterinary Care

Veterinary clinics are essential businesses during the crisis.  Most have updated hours of operations, mediation and food pick up procedures, curbside pick up for pets and offer mail delivery of monthly medications for flea/tick/mosquito repellency and Heartworm prevention. Like what my four-legged kids use:  Vectra 3D & MilbeGuard.

The clinic I work for only allows hospital staff in the building.  Curbside concierge services has been implemented.  All elective surgeries have been postponed. Telemedicine consults with vets and nurses are up.  Make sure you know new policies and procedures at your veterinary clinic and alternative emergency clinics you may need to use.

I’m a bit overwhelmed by how much our lives have changed in the past month.  I’ve lived through hurricanes  in Florida and Tornadoes in Indiana, blizzards too.  Disaster preparedness growing up never looked like this.  Adjusting to the new normal is a process.  Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep you and your pets safe.  The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared and stay home.  Don’t forget to download  my free checklist to help you create your emergency preparedness plan for your pets.

Stay Safe & Sassy!

Happy and Healthy Pet Parenting,

Leslie the Pet Nurse

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