COVID-19 Guidance: For Private Pet Owners
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization (WHO) report that dogs and cats do not contract or transmit the novel Coronavirus, it’s not a zoonotic disease. There’s absolutely no evidence of dogs, cats, or other companion animals getting infected with the new coronavirus COVID-19.
Pet owners urged to purchase dog toys, pet food, and other supplies as normal, without stockpiling, so that all pet owners can continually have reliable access. Pet food manufacturers and distributors are deemed as life-sustaining institutions and can stay operational but should practice social distancing and see best practices for grocery stores and delivery networks.
The pet owners, while practicing social distancing, are encouraged to help neighbors who might be experiencing difficulties during COVID-19 mitigation and help as able. Pet owners who may experience difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic may consider seeking long-term foster care.
We encourage pet owners to follow these essential points:
- Identify neighbors or relatives who will care for pets if someone in the family becomes ill.
- Have food, crates, and supplies on hand for the movement of pets.
- Practice social distancing when exercising or walking pets.
- If your pets are exposed to someone with COVID-19, it’s recommended to give them a bath and limit contact with anyone under quarantine.
- Pet owners are advised to wash hands regularly throughout the day with soap and warm water.
- Be sure all vaccines are up to date in case boarding becomes essential.
- Have proof of current vaccinations.
- If you don’t have paperwork, contact your vet for documents (an electronic copy on a mobile device is enough evidence ).
- Failure to provide proof of vaccinations can lead to your dog requiring to be revaccinated.
Ensure vaccinations are documented with dosages and administration direction, including the contact information for your veterinarian and the prescription.
Pets should have identification: collar with rabies tag and dog license or another vanity label with owner information. Information can be put on the pet’s cage, depending on the type of pet.
Place a list of pets in the house on your main door for emergency responders.
Keep a description of each animal, placed in-home, or on the property, and related information specific to each animal.
Essential Businesses for Doggie Daycares, Boarding Kennels, Animal Shelters, Sanctuaries, and Rescues
We encourage doggie daycare, boarding kennels, shelters, sanctuaries, and rescue centers to continue operations. However, the decision for essential businesses to stay open or intentionally close during the COVID-19 mitigation period is a business-by-business decision.
All companies that choose to remain open adapt and should review operating procedures to reduce risk. Take steps to protect their workers, send workers to home, and eliminate or minimize congregate settings or groups of over 10 people whenever possible.
Shelters must prepare for COVID-19 similarly to any other natural disaster through which intake is supposed to increase.
- Provide guidance for handwashing (such as time intervals) and managing materials.
- Stagger lunchtimes or provide extra space to increase the distancing of employees and volunteers.
- All sick volunteers and workers must remain at home.
- Inform volunteers and employees where they can find sanitizing materials.
- Encourage employees and volunteers to avoid huge gatherings and practice social distancing in non-work hours.
Prepare the Workplace:
Eliminate congregate settings and groups of over ten people. This includes groups of volunteers, employees, and the general public.
Sanitize Contact Surfaces:
- Disinfect all door handles, gates and knobs latches, floor mats, and other contacted surfaces.
- Sanitize Common gathering places — seats and armrests, lobbies, meeting rooms, office spaces, grooming areas, lunchrooms, etc..
If you have to remove or handle an animal from a COVID-19 positive home, follow directions from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Interim tips for Intake of Animals from COVID-19 Favorable Homes
- AVMA COVID-19 Resources
If your facility has surplus PPE inventory, think about donating a percentage to local health centers. Check with your state animal shelters to see if they’re available to help out with temporary and positioning if a facility decides to close and with transport and pet food and resource demands if a facility chooses to remain open.
The Department of Agriculture is supporting boarding kennels, doggie daycares, sanctuaries, shelters, and rescues obey the guidelines put forth in a Shelter Kit for new Coronavirus from the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and The Humane.
Society of the USA
This kit can be found at the following link: www.animalsheltering.org/COVID19 and comprises:
- General information on COVID-19
- Sheltering preparedness and samples
- Information to share with your community
- General Recommended practices for employees and volunteers
- How to Prepare in your shelter
- Structuring a boost program
- Additional resources
- Sample documents from shelters
- Common questions and answers
Steps Animal Rescues And Shelters Can Take To Reduce Shelter Intake And Maximize Lifesaving
With severe travel restrictions in place and social distancing advised, shelters can’t rely on pet transport to propel lifesaving efforts. Today, shelters that generally receive pets from other areas are prioritizing emergency preparation for their own communities and using input diversion approaches to manage shelter populations at safe capacity, mainly if adoption rates decline. Therefore, the reality of this time is that most pets must served in their own communities.
To preserve lifesaving within societies, shelters and rescue groups have to work together. Similarly, each one is doing their individual work to prepare for the coming weeks while working mutually to help each other as the effects of COVID-19 increasingly felt.
The National Animal Care & Control Association and the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement provide these cooperation recommendations for shelters to further improve their relationships with rescue groups to support sustained lifesaving.
- Communicate and discuss your COOP (continuity of operations plan) with neighborhood rescue groups. Invite rescue groups to play a part in the plan and identify ways to collaborate, including sharing resources such as medical supplies, food, flea, and heartworm preventative. Cross communication in this pandemic is vital. We urge animal welfare organizations within a community to set written communications daily and weekly telephone or meetings if already not doing this.
- Drastically reduce or stop all non-emergency consumption of pets coming into shelters and rescue groups from the community. Request the public for support. Engage stray finders to become foster volunteers instead of the shelter intaking the missing pet. By submitting pictures on the shelter website and completing a found report, owners may search for their missing pet. If a finder is not able to foster the pet, have your foster network prepared to intake an animal that same day. Therefore, expand your foster network with the objective of accomodating most every pet in your care in foster homes. Rescue groups can look at fostering animals outside their generally preferred species or breed to help ease the burden on shelter populations.
- Leave healthy cats alone in their communities. Suspend all community cat TVNR/SVNR attempts in addition to intake of healthy cats and kittens and concentrate only on providing emergency intake for cats in immediate danger.
- Ask animal control officers and rescue team volunteers to help with pandemic relief efforts. Officers may safely transport food and supplies and give support to exposed pet owners without putting themselves at risk. Rescue team volunteers can do the same. Work together on a path for the community to maximize traveling and time. Share information about neighborhoods that critically need support. Similarly, communicate with the local law enforcement partners and the public to ensure they understand your plan and plan and can support your efforts.
- Determine a protocol for handling animals who might have exposed to COVID-19. You should think about recognizing off-site accommodations for owned pets. However, many boarding kennels are at reduced capability at this time due to travel constraints. They may offer low-fee or also donated boarding help to owned pets who want housing.