On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. Many parts of the world are practicing social distancing as a means to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
The situation is changing rapidly and while people have been stocking up on non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, and paper products to get through the recommended period of social distancing, it’s important to ensure that you obtain the supplies that your pet needs too. Much like preparing for a natural disaster (flood, fire, hurricane), during this social distancing period, it’s important to have everything you need for your family, including your pets.
Items that you should stock up on now if you haven’t already:
Pet Food. Be sure to have several weeks’ worth of food (and treats).
- If your pet is on a veterinary diet, call your veterinary clinic to receive instructions on picking up food.
- If your pet’s regular food isn’t in stock at the pet store, you’ll need to buy an alternative. You can check with your veterinary clinic to see if they carry the diet that your pet is on. You may need to switch to a grocery store brand, but don’t wait until your pet’s regular food runs out. You’ll need to do a gradual switch to the new food. Mixing some of the old food with increasing amounts of the new food over a period of 3-7 days allows your pet to acclimatize to the new food, which will help prevent gastrointestinal upset.
Kitty Litter and Pet Waste Disposal Bags. Check your supplies of kitty litter and pet waste disposal bags. Be sure to have enough to last several weeks.
Medication. Ensure that you have a three- to four-week supply of your pet’s medications.
- Call your veterinary clinic to make arrangements to pick up all the medications your pet needs.
Flea/Tick/Heartworm Preventives. Just because you’re social distancing doesn’t mean that your pets are staying inside all the time; they’ll still be exposed to fleas, ticks, and mosquito-carrying heartworms. With flea, tick, and heartworm season just beginning, it’s important to keep these preventive measures in place.
- Call your veterinary clinic first if you need to pick up these prescription items. Remember that heartworm testing is necessary prior to initiating a heartworm preventive schedule. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is due for heartworm testing.
Emergency Caregiver. Pre-designate a family member, friend, or boarding facility to help with care in the event that you become ill.
- Compile a daily schedule for your pet. List your pet’s food preferences and amount of food provided, medications and dosing schedules, medical conditions, routines, veterinary contact information, and medical and vaccination records.
It’s a difficult time across the globe. The ability to care for your pets depends on how well you have prepared. So, prepare, but don’t panic.