Emergency plans stressed for pet owners during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 4:14 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 21:18:53-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — With people staying home more often, they’re likely spending more time with their animals. But what do you do if you happen to get sick and are unable to take care of your pets because you’re quarantined or hospitalized?

It’s a day at the park for this dog keeping his distance from others. The caretaker, Megan Berry, is making sure he gets exercise.

“They’re family, especially while we’re cooped up in these times. We want to keep them as healthy as we’re keeping ourselves,” she said.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, Berry made sure she reached out to friends in case she isn’t able to take care of her pets.

“We have a little text chain going on. If something happens to one of us, we’ll take each other’s animals in,” Berry said.

Jeff Dixon with the Humane Society of the United States says having other caretakers Is important as part of an emergency plan.

“You first want to identify and speak to with two potential caregivers in your network. Make a plan with them. Let them know where they can find your supplies,” he said.

If there’s no one to be found he suggests this alternative.

“Contact a boarding facility. They are generally going to be open right now and make arrangements with them,” Dixon said.

Don’t forget about supplies. Dr. Ken Sieranski, director of veterinary services with the Animal Foundation, says pet owners should have a two-week supply of food and medicine for their animals.

“I have some pet bowls and toys for him and also instructions on veterinary care,” he said.

With the USDA recommending sick pet owners to keep away from their animals, Berry says she’s following the warning, and encourages others to make their own plans.

“If I thought I was getting sick, I would offload my dog, just because I wouldn’t want him getting whatever is going around as well. Anything can happen, and you want to have that emergency backup,” she said.

The USDA says the risk of coronavirus transmission still remains low, and doesn’t believe the virus directly transmits from pets back to people.