Amid the growing concerns around the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is providing information on keeping animals safe during a human health crisis and encouraging pet owners to include pets in their emergency plans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 infection results from human to human transmission. Likewise, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has stated that there is no evidence that dogs or cats can spread the disease or have become ill with the virus.
“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 urging pet owners to take the following actions:
1. Wash Your Hands
Although there is no current evidence that suggests the coronavirus can be transmitted to or from companion animals, it’s always a good idea to follow basic hygiene practices around animals. This includes washing your hands thoroughly throughout the day and before and after direct contact with your pets, their food or their supplies.
2. Play it Safe
While there have not been any reports of companion animals becoming sick from the virus, it is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit contact with companion animals until more information is available. If you are sick or under medical attention for COVID-19, you should avoid close contact with your pets and have another member of your household care for your animals. If you must look after your pet, you should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask, if possible.
3. Stock Up on Pet Supplies
Prepare a kit with essential supplies to have on hand in the event of an emergency. Your emergency kit should include a 30-day supply of your pets’ medications, as well as at least two weeks’ worth of food and other supplies, like litter. Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
4. Designate an Emergency Caregiver
Proactively identify someone who could help with their short- or long-term care in the event you are unable to care for your pets. Consider a family member, friend, neighbor or a boarding facility.
5. Create a Pet Dossier
If your emergency caregiver’s assistance is needed, make it easier for them by having all of your pets’ information in one place. Consider including things like habits, food preferences, medical conditions and medications taken, veterinarian contact information, medical and vaccination records, and any behavioral tendencies.
For more information on ASPCA pet safety and COVID-19, please visit www.aspca.org.