Have a pet care plan in place in case of COVID-19

In our last article, we talked about having an emergency plan for your pets in case of natural disasters. The current COVID-19 public health crisis is a reminder that we need pet care plans not just for disasters but in case we become ill and are unable to care for our pets ourselves or need to be hospitalized.

Anchorage Animal Care & Control (AACC) had a dog brought to the shelter when both his parents were hospitalized due to COVID-19. Their daughter later stated that her parents delayed going to the hospital because they were worried about who would care for their dog. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending: the dog was placed in foster care with one of AACC's rescue partners, Kitty & K9 Connection, and was joyfully reunited with his parents when they were released from the hospital.

What does a pet care plan look like? Here are some tips to get you started:

Keep your pet at home. If possible, have someone else in your home care for them.

Have a two-week supply of essentials such as food, medication and cat litter ready so you don't have to go out if you are sick.

Identify up to three potential caretakers among your friends and family in case you have to be hospitalized. Have care instructions for your pet ready for them.

Research boarding facilities that are willing to take in animals who have been exposed to COVID-19.

Make sure your pet's contact information is up-to-date with your pet's microchip company and on their identification tags.

Keep your pet's vaccinations current. This is especially important if they have to go to boarding facility.

For more information on pets and COVID-19:

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#COVID-19-and-Animals

American Veterinary Medical Association: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19/sars-cov-2-animals-including-pets

Laura Atwood is the public relations coordinator for the Anchorage Animal Care and Control.