Cricket the dog | Credit: Courtesy

As households deal with the impacts of coronavirus, the Santa Barbara Humane Society urges residents not to forget one population — pets. Owners are encouraged to create a “pet plan” in case they or a loved one contracts COVID-19.

“By being proactive, having a preparedness plan ensures that pets are not impacted from undo stress — such as being placed in an unfamiliar surrounding like a shelter,” the Humane Society wrote in a statement, which listed nine tips to ensure pet safety.

Pet owners should find a friend or family member to take care of their pet in case they need to be hospitalized or need to take care of a sick loved one. For those without family nearby, ask neighbors who may be familiar with your pet already. The social networking service Nextdoor is a resource, as it has partnered with the state to digitally connect neighborhood residents.

Other “pet plan” tips are:

• Keep on hand two weeks’ worth of supplies, such as carriers/leashes, food, medication, bowls, and bedding

• Document important items like your veterinarian’s contact information and your pet’s last vaccines.

• Document feeding and medication schedule and any special needs.

• Go to or call your veterinarian to ensure your pet’s microchip is up to date.

• Order an updated metal tag.

• Send something from home with your scent on it to help your pet feel at home.

• Identify three people who can update your pet’s caregiver while you are away.

A small number of pets have become infected with the coronavirus. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated the risk of transmission between animals and humans is low, it recommends taking safety precautions — such as avoiding dog parks and washing hands before and after handling pets. The full list of CDC recommendations can be found here.


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