With people trying to prepare for what could happen with the coronavirus, don’t forget the furry family members in your life.

While there is currently no definitive evidence that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes illness in our companion animals, they still could be affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As the number of human cases rise, healthcare providers are preparing to accommodate an increasing number of patients in need of hospitalization. Many hospitalized patients will have pets at home that may be left without care.

“While the County’s Animal Services Facility is here to help in emergencies, the facility is not set up to provide long-term shelter and care for your pets,” said Dr. Eric Anderson, the County’s Animal Services manager. “Additionally, shelter space is limited and may not be adequate to house all of the animals in need. Therefore, Animal Services is encouraging all pet owners to make a plan for their animals in the unlikely event that they may temporarily be unable to provide care for them.”

To develop a pet care plan, pet owners are encouraged to:

 Identify a temporary caregiver for your pets – check with friends, family, and neighbors, or with pet-sitters and boarding kennels.

 Create a written emergency plan for each of your pets. Make sure to include:
• The name and contact information for your pet’s temporary caregiver. Be sure to include their cell phone number.
• Your pet’s name, breed, and age.
• Your veterinarian, their clinic name and phone number.
• A copy of your pet’s vaccination records.
• A description of any medical concerns for your pet and directions for any medications they take.
• Your pet’s feeding schedule and directions.

Put together a bag or storage box with supplies that your pet might need for two weeks (food, bowls, travel kennel, leash, cat litter, etc.). If your pet is on any medications, make sure to include a two-week supply. Set them aside with a copy of your plan where they can easily be found.

In the unlikely event that you are temporarily unable to care for you pets, having a good plan ahead of time will help provide you with a peace of mind, knowing that they will continue to be well cared for in a comfortable environment.