Planning for the Animal Component of COVID-19

Information compiled by Claudia Sonder DVM, President Napa CART on 3/24/2020

Companion Animals 

There have been reports of a dog testing positive for Covid-19. Several veterinary institutions are investigating this to get a better understanding of risks to dogs, and potential for cross contamination. There have been no reports of humans catching Covid-19 from dogs or other pets. Until we have a better understanding of risk to dogs, we recommend that you assign pet care to a family member or connected acquaintance who is not ill. Start planning for this contingency now, as the safest place for your pet is at home with you. 

General recommendations for dog etiquette during Covid-19 pandemic: 

  • Do not pet other people’s dogs. Maintain social distancing of 6 feet and walk single file or stop on trail to facilitate distancing when approaching other groups.
  • If you are ill or in self quarantine due to known exposure, stay home and make arrangements for your pet or walk your pet locally using social distancing. Wear a mask if appropriate.
  • Pets are sensitive to the emotional state of their human companions. These are stressful times and you may experience some “cooped up” behavior from your pets. If so, here is a helpful article about how to keep your dog busy and tune up their manners: How to Stay Sane Sheltering in Place with Dogs.  

What can you do at home to aid the animal response

  • Stay healthy and follow the State and County issued order to shelter in place
  • Make a plan for pet care now, and communicate it with your family
  • Consider supporting the organizations providing these valuable resources

Planning for the care of your pet, should you become ill:

  • Avoid snuggling, sharing food, playing and sleeping with your dog if you are ill.
  • Designate a caregiver to do feeding, walking and playing.
  • If your pet becomes ill while you are in self quarantine or infected with Covid-19, follow your veterinarian’s protocols for veterinary care, which will be communicated when you call in for an appointment. Indicate to them if you are ill or in self-quarantine due to exposure. There are resources listed below for emergency pet transport to a DVM. Make sure your veterinarian has an email address.
  • If you must care for your pet while ill, wear a mask and wash your hands before and after handling.
  • If a connected acquaintance is available, leave the animal in an accessible room for the caregiver with posted instructions and veterinary contact information.
    • Create a visit schedule that allows you to avoid any contact.
    • The caregiver should wear gloves when entering the adjacent room and handling the dog or cats, and touching surfaces. A mask is not required, as the ill person is not in the room. Ask the caregiver to email or call with any concerns.
    • Make sure the designated care room does not have accessible trash, plants or other hazards. Wipe down surfaces around food and leashes etc. and leave Clorox wipes in the room.
    • Caregiver should dispose of used gloves in trashcan outside of care area. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water as directed for Covid -19.
    • Using an abundance of caution, the caregiver should change clothes before handling pets at home to avoid transmission of other diseases or parasites, fleas etc.

Large Animals 

  • Designate a family member or friend to feed animals if you are too ill
  • Fill troughs and ensure 2-4 weeks of feed are on hand. Plan to order feed and transition onto new hay over several days. Do not wait until you are out of hay.
  • If safe for your horses, wean onto pasture such that care is minimal. It is essential that introduction to grass or new food occur over a 7-10 day period with incremental exposure.
  • Leave animals’ leads, feeding instructions and medical records in a sheltered but obvious place.
  • Post your veterinary contact information in the barn, and make sure to email your veterinarian to designate caretaker if you become seriously ill.

Where to purchase Pet Food & Delivery

We recommend you purchase a one-month supply of pet food.

Need financial assistance with pet food delivery or supply? 

The local organizations listed here may be able to help.

Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch 

Should you be out of work or are financially struggling due to this pandemic, Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch will offer assistance with pet food supply and delivery

  • Napa County residents needing food for their cats/dogs, please visit your local drive up Food Bank Pantry Network. Hours and locations can be found here: Napa Valley Food Bank  
  • For Napa County Residents who are quarantined by their doctor, and cannot leave their home, we are offering a pet food and/or pet medication delivery/drop off service.
  • For all bay area residents, if you are unable to make it to your local food bank and cannot afford food for your beloved animal, we can provide a 30-day supply of food. We look forward to helping our community with their needs.
  • Call our helpline at 707-927-3536 or email us at [email protected] for assistance.

Napa County Animal Shelter (NCAS)

Napa County Animal Shelter’s ultimate goal is to keep pets home with their families practicing shelter at home. If it becomes a matter of someone being hospitalized and no one else can take care of the pet, NCAS can offer a 30-day emergency boarding and/or temporary foster after proper decontamination procedures. NCAS can also offer supplies to facilitate the care of their pet such as leashes, collars, crates, bedding, toys, etc. NCAS can also deliver supplies if needed to encourage sheltering at home. NCAS has a limited supply of food donations and can work with community partners as need evolves. In the event of loss of life with no next of kin, NCAS will prioritize owner surrender of the animal and provide temporary foster and/or rehoming of pet. NCAS is the lead organization supporting the animal component.

Napa CART 

Napa CART has a reserve of trained DSWs who are available to support the existing agencies in pet food delivery and care if activated by the county. Napa CART will host regular updates with partner organizations and the COAD to coordinate the animal component of response and report to NCAS.

Napa Humane 

Napa Humane is available for animal behavior assistance and can be reached at 707-255-8118. Napa Humane is assisting the COAD to coordinate the animal response and resources.

Sunrise Horse Rescue (SHR) 

Sunrise Horse Rescue has volunteers available to deliver feed and care for large animals if next of kin are unavailable to do so. Requests for large animal assistance can come through JARR’s hotline and will be dispatched to SHR. Napa CART will work with SHR to procure donations for large animal support

We Care Animal Rescue 

We Care Animal Rescue is closed to visitors, adoptions and in-take and has limited their services at this time to focus on taking care of their sheltered animals. They will be available to assist St Helena community with urgent concerns on a case-by-case basis. Please contact via email: [email protected].

Wine Country Animal Lovers 

Wine Country Animal Lovers organization has grants and resources available to provide pet food and delivery, financial assistance for emergency and urgent veterinary care, and pet care assistance to up valley residents.

Additional Resources 

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: UC Davis COVID-19 Updates  

CDC Animal Messaging/Guidance Document for in Home Care of Covid-19 exposed pet: Interim Guidance for Public Health Professionals Managing People With COVID-19 in Home Care and Isolation Who Have Pets or Other Animals  

CDC Spread Mitigating Protocols: CDC FAQs

American Veterinary Medical Association: What veterinarians need to know  PDF Download PDF DownloadPDF Download

AVMA Resources for mobile visits to pets: Considerations for mobile and house call veterinarians during the COVID-19 pandemic