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What to Do With My Pet If I'm Sick?

Posted By SLCo Animal Services
April 17, 2020

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What to do if i get sick

Due to COVID-19 being highly spreadable, at Salt Lake County Animal Services, we want to help you be prepared if you do get ill and come up with a plan for caring for your pets while you may be quarantined either at home or in a hospital. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is currently no evidence that people can get COVID-19 from pets, though there have been a handful of cases that suggest people may be able to transmit the disease to animals.

If you are infected with COVID-19, the CDC recommends isolating yourself and limiting contact with your pet just as you would with other people in the home.

  • If there are healthy people still residing in your household, they can take over the responsibility of day to day care of your pet so that your animals can remain in a comfortable, known environment. Avoid close contact with your pet while you’re sick and do not handle their food and water bowls, toys, etc.
  • If all the people living in the residence are sick at the same time or you live alone, arrange with a temporary caregiver to care for your pets. The biggest risk of infection is by entering the home of the infected person so do everything possible to minimize that exposure. Supplies should be placed as close to the door as possible. The caregiver should wear Personal Protective Equipment, sanitize surfaces, and wash their hands thoroughly after being in the home.
    • Caring for someone’s pet in THEIR OWN home:
      • This may be a preferred option for cats, who don’t generally require as much daily care as a dog would and may take longer to adjust to the stress of a new environment.
      • Provide for as many days of care as possible on Day One to limit the frequency of trips. Example: Many cats can be left with several days’ worth of food, water, and litter.
    • Caring for someone’s pet in CAREGIVER’S home:
      • Collect the pet’s emergency kit and supplies
      • According to the CDC and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), bathing the animal once it leaves its home is not necessary and may further stress the animal in a new environment.
    • If you must leave your home for hospitalization and there is no one to care for your pet, contact your local animal control agency for assistance. If you're in Salt Lake County Animal Services jurisdiction please email animal@slco.org or call Dispatch at 801-743-7000. 
  • Things to do NOW, before you get sick:
    • Find someone who can be a temporary caregiver. You can also contact pet-sitters and boarding facilities. If you cannot afford boarding fees, organizations like RedRover.org offer Emergency Boarding Grants. If your pet requires extensive medical treatment that cannot be provided by a temporary caregiver (ex: diabetes, IV treatments, etc.), boarding at a medical facility may be required. *Make sure your caregiver of choice has a way to access the home in case you are hospitalized (access to spare keys, landlord contact, etc.)
    • Fill out an authorization form in case your pets have to be removed from the house if you go to the hospital.
    • Put together an “emergency supply kit”
      • Name and contact information for the person who can care for your pets
      • Name and contact information for a back-up caregiver in case your first choice is unavailable
      • Food, treats, a leash, toys and any other supplies necessary to care for your pet for at least two weeks
      • A crate or carrier to transport your pet
      • Collar with ID tags (don’t forget to make sure their microchip information is up to date)
      • Medications and prescriptions, along with instructions
      • Daily care instructions
      • Vaccination records and your veterinarian's contact information