Setting up your Pet’s Support System in Light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, we continue to monitor the evolving situation that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) presents to our central Florida community. We shoulder your concern during this uncertain time and stand beside you with hope and kindness, but also encourage everyone to make sure that they and their pets are prepared.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure pets are a part of your emergency plans. 

Does your pet have a support network?

There is a possibility that you may have to temporarily house your pet(s) with family, friends, or neighbors in the case of unexpected hospitalization.

While there are resources for pet owners to temporarily place pets into foster homes such as pactforanimals.org or through boarding facilities and veterinarians, these businesses may not be able to accommodate during mandatory closures. That’s why it’s important to first look at your personal network. 

It is best to have this plan in place before it is needed. Reach out to family, friends (even those outside of your immediate area), and neighbors and see who would be able to either check in on your pet or foster it in their own home. Look for resources on online public pages like Nextdoor or your community’s neighborhood Facebook/online forum. 

Try to have two options for temporary pet care and have their names and phone numbers in an easy to find place – like attached to your fridge with a magnet.

Remember: don’t be afraid to ask for help for yourself and your pet when you need it. In times of crisis, people are often at their most giving and looking for meaningful ways to be helpful to their family, friends, and community.

What to have on hand

  • Food & Water. Have at least two weeks’ supply of your pet’s normal food and make sure they have access to freshwater daily. Consider keeping bottled water on hand to last your pet(s) two weeks. Programs like AniMeals on Wheels and Seniors First can be helpful resources for seniors with pets. The Pet Alliance Pet Food Pantry is community donations-based program available to Osceola, Orange, or Seminole County residents who are in need of food for their pets, but only while we receive donations to stock the pantry.
  • Medicines and medical records. When it comes to emergency situations, access to necessary medications isn’t always easy. Ensure that you monitor your pet’s refills and ask your veterinarian about prescriptions that last several months between refills. If you are an existing Pet Alliance clinic customer, you are able to purchase prescription medicine and food for delivery online here
  • Microchip. Microchip your pet and make sure the chip registration is updated with your current contact information. Be sure to locate and update your microchip registry.
  • Important documents. Vaccine records, pet licenses/registrations and any other papers relating to your pet and their health are important to have on hand. Some of this information is required to board or helpful for a caretaker. 
  • First aid kit. Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, and scissors; antibiotic ointment; heartworm, flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol, and saline solution. Including a pet, first aid reference book is a good idea too.
  • Collar or harness with two ID tags, rabies tag, and a leash.
  • Crate or pet carriers. Make sure you have pet carriers (that they can comfortably stand up and move around in), as well as a crate. 
  • Sanitation. Pet litter, litter box, scoop, puppy pads, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and household chlorine bleach can all come in handy. 
  • A picture of you and your pet together. A picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in case of a lost pet. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar items. Familiar items, such as treats, toys, and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.

Your Pet’s Routine Can Keep You Happy and Accountable

As we self-quarantine and work remotely, keeping a routine is a major key to ensuring you, your family, and your pet(s) are calm and mentally stimulated. 

It’s easy to fall into an endless “Anxious Scroll” online or watch the news for hours on end, but there IS a healthy balance we each need to determine to stay informed, calm and healthy.

Which is why we bring up your pets’ routine, because the fact of the matter is… Buttercup has NO IDEA what’s going. Which can be reassuring, because that’s where you can find your routine. 

There is a lot of interesting data and research being done about ways pets make our lives better, you can learn more by visiting the Human Animal Bond Research Institute. Ultimately, research confirms that spending time with a pet can help reduce depression, anxiety and loneliness. So when we keep our pets happy with daily walks, playtime, treats, specific mealtimes and belly rubs — they end up giving us back so much more.

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