If you’ve been keeping up with the news — or reading your Facebook timeline — you’ve likely heard about the coronavirus (officially named COVID-19) and may be wondering what actions to take to keep yourself safe. And if you’re a proud pet parent, you’re probably also wondering how your pets might be affected.
The deadly virus that began as a handful of respiratory illnesses in central China has now made its way to more than 70 countries, and recently started spreading in the United States. With more than 3,400 global coronavirus deaths, it is understandable to feel a bit confused and uneasy about the coming weeks and months. The good news is that the fatality rate is expected to go down as more mild cases come to light, and so far there is no evidence that pets are at risk of contracting or spreading the virus. So, even if you don’t want to be shaking hands with the mailman right now, you can still give your dog a big ol’ snuggle to comfort you through this outbreak.
Health and government officials say the best we can do to keep ourselves safe is avoid panic, practice proper hygiene and social distancing, and prepare. Though the coronavirus was recently elevated to a pandemic, for most it presents as a mild infection, and as officials have said preparation is our best defense. The rapid spread of the virus serves as a reminder that we should always have an emergency preparedness kit ready. Your kit should include items for your pets and instructions should you be away from them.
In the case of COVID-19, there is likely no need to stock-pile months and months worth of items, but having some extras set aside in a kit in case you are quarantined at home or local stores are closed is a good idea. Here’s what to stock up on for your pets, with coronavirus closures on the horizon.
Two-week supply of food and water
It’s smart to have at least one extra bag of pet food on hand in case of any emergency, but with COVID-19 there are some additional things to keep in mind. Due to businesses and factories around the world temporarily shutting down due to coronavirus, pets may be hard to shop for as supplies may be low over the next few weeks. You can avoid long lines and potentially empty shelves at your local store by ordering online.
Though COVID-19 will likely not affect our water systems, all emergency kits should include enough water to last at least two weeks. Consider your pet’s water intake needs when you calculate how much water to stock up on.
If your pet has specific medications she takes, it’s a good idea to have a two to three month supply on hand. You can speak to
your vet about concerns you have over COVID-19 and get your pet’s prescriptions filled early. If you’re already limiting your time out in public to minimize risk, you can even order your medications along with your other pet supplies.
Make sure to write out instructions for your pet’s medication and provide your vet’s contact information, in case you have to leave her with a friend or relative. It’s also important to include copies of your pet’s vaccination record and medical history in your kit.
Toys and Entertainment
Have a plan for pet care
Last, but not least, create a plan for your pet in case you do get sick and need to be away for an extended period. Talk to friends and family to figure out where your pets could stay if you are quarantined due to coronavirus. Pets may be able to stay with friends or family, but if that is not an option do some research on local boarding facilities and have a couple of options ready in case you need to be hospitalized. Make sure to write out instructions for their daily routine to make the transition easier.
We’ve all seen the crazy long lines at big box stores, and the memes about how hard it is to get toilet paper these days, but as officials have said, we do not need to panic. Situations like the one we are in with COVID-19 just serve as a reminder that we never know when an emergency will strike and to always have a plan in place. An extra treat for your best bud, some puppy (or kitty, or chinchilla…) snuggles, a solid Netflix queue, and a deep breath will also help with getting through this.