Hello, I hope you’re doing well. Through That Mutt and my partner company, Mighty Paw, we put together a list of what pet owners might consider during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are not veterinarians, and we recommend you follow the latest info from the American Veterinary Medical Association. If you have specific questions, call your dog’s vet.
Please add your own ideas in the comments and know that these are simply our opinions. Use common sense and follow the recommendations for your area.
This post was last updated by Lindsay on March 20, 2020.
You’ve probably heard that thankfully as of now there is no evidence that dogs or cats get sick from or carry COVID-19. Follow the American Veterinary Medical Association for the latest information. Today there are reports circulating about a second dog potentially testing positive in Hong Kong, but there is not a lot of information about this currently.
What dog owners should consider during the COVID-19 pandemic
Support your local animal shelter financially
Animal shelters need our help. Consider making a financial donation or call to ask what the most urgent needs are for supplies (such as cleaning supplies).
For good reason, shelters are likely limiting volunteers and staff right now and the existing workers will be feeling extra pressure to care for the growing number of dogs and cats. The animals are certainly feeling this stress as well.
Many shelters will still be open to adoptions. Some will be closed. Best to call in advance. For example, a humane society in my town is requesting that the public visit the shelter only if they plan to adopt. People are instructed to wait in their car and send only one family member in to complete the adoption.
Consider fostering a dog or cat if there is a need.
Consider volunteering to foster a dog or cat in your home for a few weeks if you’re able and if there is the need. Best to call and ask vs. email as there may not be as many volunteers available to respond to emails and Facebook posts.
Not all shelters will need foster homes. For example, my local shelter is currently doing its best to encourage as many adoptions as possible to “clear the shelter.” At the moment, it’s not looking for foster homes.
If you normally use a dog walker, pet sitter or dog daycare, I recommend you cancel all appointments (for now) to decrease the spread of the virus. I say this as a former dog walker and do not take this lightly. It’s very important we all stay home right now.
You can continue to support dog walkers, pet sitters and dog daycares by:
- pre-paying for future appointments
- paying for regular service even if you cancel temporarily
- buying their gift cards
- leaving a tip
- text or email to show appreciation
- leave positive reviews
For example, I called the dog boarding facility I normally use and asked if I could pre-pay for my next 10 nights of boarding. I don’t know when I’ll use these, but I know I travel enough to need them eventually. I appreciate this business so much because they’re happy to feed my dog his raw diet AND they put up with his obnoxious play style!
How to support dog trainers
- sign up for their online training classes and seminars
- buy their books
- share their blog articles
- pre-pay for future classes
- ask about online training sessions through Skype or Zoom
Support non-profit dog training clubs
To support your local dog agility club, nosework group, etc., consider making a donation to keep these organizations running while classes and trials are temporarily canceled. They still have bills to pay for things like rent, heating and supplies. If they don’t have a donate button on their website, email them and ask how you can help.
Should you cancel vet appointments?
Yes. Cancel all non-emergency vet appointments.
Some vets may be closed temporarily and others will be open. Go to the vet only for true emergencies at this time or to pick up urgent supplies. This precaution is to protect the veterinary staff members and others.
Appointments like vaccinations, heartworm tests and routine exams should wait for now. Non-urgent illnesses or mild injuries should also wait. If you’re not sure, call your vet to discuss.
If you have to go to the vet, call ahead and wait in your car until the staff is ready to see your pet vs. sitting in the waiting room area.
Stock up on pet food and medications
I recommend you have a month’s worth of food on hand for your pets as well as medications.
I bought a couple of week’s worth of prescription medication for my cat last week because he has kidney disease and I did not want him to be without if there ends up being a shortage.
My dog Remy normally gets frozen raw food delivered but I ordered two big bags of dry food to have on hand just in case deliveries stop or get delayed. You’ve probably noticed shipments are taking longer than usual, so plan on deliveries arriving 3 or 4 days later than normal.
That Mutt’s partner company Mighty Paw is still delivering through its website and Amazon as normal.
Pick up pet supplies and medications curbside
If you have to go to the pet store for food or litter or to your dog’s vet for supplies, call to ask if they will meet you curbside or if they will deliver.
Continue walking and training your dog
In the U.S., health experts are still saying it’s safe to go for a walk, run or hike. Thank goodness! Get out and walk your pup!
In addition to your usual walk, try to stick to as normal of a routine as you can. Obviously, our pets will be thrilled many of us are spending more time at home. However, dogs are also sensitive to our routines and they can get worried or stressed when we’re acting differently.
If your dog is bored from being cooped up, work on some obedience training, trick training or indoor games like “find it” where you hide treats or toys.
Tricks to teach your dog
- Roll over
- “Twirl” or “spin”
- Play dead
- Crawl – Remy is learning this one!
- Take a bow – Remy is learning this one too
- Pick up your toys!
- Simple agility exercises like jumping over things
- “Leave it” / “Take it”
- Howl or “sing”
Most of all, I hope you are all staying safe and that you are doing OK. I know times are stressful right now, so make sure to hug your dog!
Our dogs are ready to do their most important work of all: provide stress relief, comfort and a few laughs! Thank goodness for dogs!
How are things going for you in your part of the world? How is your dog?
Let us know in the comments.
Lindsay, That Mutt & Mighty Paw