- What is the Humane Society of the United States doing to address the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis?
- What is being done at the state level?
- Should I have a preparedness plan for my pet(s)?
- Can my pet get COVID-19?
- How can I keep my home clean AND safe for my pets?
- What can I do to help animals and shelters during this crisis?
- Do you have resources specifically to help animal shelters and rescues deal with COVID-19?
- Where can I get help if I am experiencing financial hardship and need help covering costs for pet care?
- What about small businesses that serve the needs of pet owners?
- How can future pandemics like COVID-19 be prevented?
- Additional resources
We launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund to support animal shelters, rescue groups and other organizations that are responding to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, with the goal of keeping people and their pets together during this crisis. Contributions to the fund are being used to provide veterinary care, pet food, horse feed and animal care supplies, as well as other costs related to caring for animals during the outbreak. View our interactive map to see where the emergency grants have been dispersed across the country.
Early in the outbreak, we assembled a toolkit for animal shelters to help them respond to the needs of the communities that they serve and are in close contact with our Shelter and Rescue Partners to share information. Our Pets for Life program, which supports pet owners in underserved areas, has delivered additional supplies to senior and immobile clients and is modifying spay/neuter and veterinary appointments to maintain those valuable services within guidelines. Client visits by Pets for Life teams are shifting to phone outreach and delivery of food and medications to avoid close contact for at-risk clients. The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association has worked with our state directors to ensure that veterinary services and other animal care needs are identified as essential businesses. HSVMA is also helping veterinarians adapt to telemedicine and ensuring that providers are able to offer those services.
The staff and volunteers at our animal care centers remain committed to ensuring the animals have no gap in care. Society may be on hold, but our work for animals in critical need is not. Rest assured, the proper diet and care of these animals will never be compromised. We are fully committed to our sanctuary residents. They came from cruel situations and we will not let them down now or ever. Our sanctuaries already practice excellent standards of disease prevention and we're prepared for necessary changes in supply chains and staffing. While our staff continue full steam ahead to make sure that the animals who rely on us receive the highest quality care, they continue to update their wishlist of supplies.
Pet owners hit hardest by COVID-19 will soon be facing immense financial barriers to veterinary access and other animal care services. They need your help.
Our state directors all across the country are asking emergency managers and other officials to ensure that critical animal needs, such as the care of animals in various settings and the ability for animal care personnel to perform their duties, are addressed in emergency orders.
Many are working with local pet food banks by encouraging donations, helping with delivery and posting resources online. Find your state and follow along on social media! State Facebook pages are being updated several times daily about the need for fosters and pet/human COVID-19 facts, plus what people can do to help shelters and each other with pet needs. State Directors are also responding to inquiries from shelters and ACOs regarding management during this crisis and reaching out to shelters to assess what the most urgent needs are.
Dr. Gail Hansen, DVM, MPH of our affiliate, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, said, “At this time there is nothing that shows pets can spread COVID-19 and there’s no reason to think pets might be a source of infection. It is always good for people to practice careful hand washing after handling a pet and after picking up and disposing pet waste. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick, so you and your pet can get the best care. Our pets provide a very important and positive role in our lives.”
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has introduced a good deal of uncertainty into our lives, but being prepared can make a world of difference. Watch this video to hear a veterinarian answer questions about pets and the coronavirus.
Some cleaners that help prevent COVID-19 aren’t safe for your pets.
Keep pets out of rooms where you’re using cleaners that contain bleach, alcohol and other powerful chemicals.
Don’t leave cleaners out where your pets could stick their paws into them.
Follow the product instructions—some cleaners need to sit for a bit to be effective, but surfaces can then be rinsed to avoid burning tender paws.
If your pet needs a bath, only use products intended for bathing pets. Other cleaners can hurt them.
ADOPT OR FOSTER
Now is a great time to adopt a pet to reduce the potential strain on shelters and to offer to foster in case shelters start receiving an increase in requests for foster care of pets for seriously ill or hospitalized people. Please reach out to shelters and rescue groups in your area for more information.
Fosters can also be lifesavers for pets who can't adapt to shelter life, those who need to be nursed back to health and orphaned animals who need someone to step in for their mom (or whose needs are beyond what busy shelter staff can often provide).
This uncertain and stressful time is also a wonderful opportunity to unify behind a common love of animals. COVID-19 does not discriminate; people from all backgrounds and communities will be impacted. A deep connection to animals transcends socio-economic, racial, ethnic and geographic boundaries and honoring that bond with compassion, not judgement, is a very simple yet impactful way to contribute positively in your community during this crisis.
- Make a disaster plan for your pets
- Pet disaster preparedness kit from the CDC
- Sample disaster plan for your pets from Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region
- Sample disaster plan for your pets from Michigan Humane Society
- Sample disaster plan for your pets in Spanish and English from Houston SPCA
- Sample emergency kit for your pets from Tampa Bay SPCA
- Animal Sheltering: Coronavirus (COVID-19) shelter kit
- AVMA: Overview of COVID-19 transmission and infection in humans
- AVMA: What do you need to know about coronavirus?
- CDC: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC: What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Guidance for Essential Animal Businesses
- Dumb Friends League: Foster manual and application
- Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program: Guidance on shelter care of animals exposed to COVID-19
- Petco: Statement about pets and COVID-19
- RedRover: Domestic Violence Safe Escape Grants
- World Health Organization: Rolling updates on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- World Health Organization: Course on COVID-19