We’ve been inundated with information about how to protect ourselves during the pandemic, but what about our animals? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the CDC, and the WHO, as well as a number of other organizations, there is no evidence that your pet can spread COVID-19. But what happens to them if you are ill or unable to take care of them for an extended period of time?
Here are some tips on how you can keep your pet safe during a pandemic:
- Have an emergency plan for illness at all times, not just during a pandemic, and be sure to include care instructions for your pet(s). Make a list for a person you trust to look after your pet if you are not able to look after them yourself. Include information on their diet, including the brand name and amount of food they are fed each day, instructions for medications, and the contact information for their vet. If you anticipate an upcoming hospital stay for any reason, have a bag packed for them and ready to go with all of these things, as well as some of their favourite toys.
- Don’t hoard pet food or supplies, but make sure you have enough to satisfy a 14-day (2 week) period. This is in case you need to self-quarantine.
- If have tested positive for COVID-19 but are well enough to continue looking after your pet, keep them at home with you. Wash your hands before and after you touch your pet or their toys or food dishes, or ask a family member in your household to look after them if needed. Avoid kissing your pet and allowing them to lick your face if you are sick to help keep them as protected as possible.
- If you see a stray animal, consider leaving it where you found it unless it is sick or injured. Many wandering pets will find their way home without human intervention.
- If you are hospitalized for COVID-19 and do not have local friends or family who can look after your pet, Calgary Humane Society is here to help. Your pet will be kept safe and comfortable at Calgary Humane Society during your hospital stay and will be waiting for you when you are able to pick them up. All pet owners need to access this free service is a referral form completed by a doctor, social worker, or other emergency service provider.