Since our world has been turned upside-down in the wake of COVID-19, many of us have updated our routines to be safer, to be more aware of social distancing, and to protect ourselves and those we love, including our pets. It’s more important than ever for us to stay healthy so that we can continue caring for our dogs.
There are numerous articles available online about hand-washing, social distancing, disinfecting, and other common-sense practices to limit your exposure to Coronavirus. This post will concentrate on pet care and how we can continue to provide the best possible care for our pets during this time of uncertainty.
Many areas of Dallas-Fort Worth are under Safer at Home orders, which require residents to stay in their homes unless you need to leave for “essential activities.” Dallas, Tarrant, and Denton counties all list obtaining pet supplies as an “essential activity.” Collin County does not have a list of “essential activities” but asks that all businesses that can, stay open. As of this writing, the following pet stores are open:
- Pet Supplies Plus: Stores are open, but please take advantage of their curbside pickup and home delivery options to limit exposure to others.
- Hollywood Feed: Stores are open and most are offering curbside pickup. Check here for stores with same-day delivery.
- Petco: Stores are open with reduced hours (10 am to 6 pm) to allow for increased cleaning and restocking. They’re offering 10% when you buy online and pick up in-store, and most stores offer curbside pickup. Of course, you can always shop online and have it shipped directly to you as well.
- PetSmart: Stores are open with reduced hours (9 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays) to allow for increased cleaning and restocking. They’re offering curbside pickup when you place an order online for home delivery.
Many other local pet supply stores are open and offering curbside pickup. Just give them a call to find out how they’re navigating this uncharted territory. In my experience, they’ll be more than happy to help you safely get what you need during this time.
Most vet clinics and hospitals are offering, if not insisting on, curbside drop-off and pickup. The procedure is usually sometime like this:
- Upon arrival, remain in your vehicle and call the clinic.
- Someone will get you checked in and then a technician will call to obtain a history and will arrange to get your dog from your vehicle.
- All information regarding the visit will be relayed to you by the doctor over the phone.
- Once your dog is ready to be discharged, a receptionist will call to process your payment and a staff member will bring your pet to the car.
Some clinics are allowing one person in with the pet, but only allowing a few people in the waiting room at one time, all at least 6 feet apart. When making an appointment, the office staff will be able to answer all your questions about how they’re handling our current situation.
In the case of an emergency, make sure to call the clinic on your way to find out what the protocol is.
Grooming & Day Care
The Dallas County order lists grooming as essential, “if necessary for the health and wellbeing of the animal.” Doggie daycares can remain open for employees of essential businesses. That said, there are many groomers and daycares that have decided to close for the duration of the Safer at Home orders. However, many are still open so if you need to go to work or if your pet’s hair or nails need attention, don’t worry – you have plenty of options:
- Animal Boarding and Grooming of Farmers Branch is open; please call for an appointment.
- CityDog! Club in Addison is open and offering free days in two of their most popular packages.
- Dogtopia of Dallas – Inwood is open with limited hours.
- Paradise 4 Paws DFW and POOCH Hotel Richardson are both open. They may adjust hours and staffing as needed, but you can call in advance to confirm.
- Uptown Dog is open and extending 50% off on all boarding and daycare fees for medical professionals, employees, and first responders.
This list will continue to be updated as the situation progresses.
Best Practices for Protecting Your Fur Babies
The American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines suggest that if you don’t have COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would (walking, feeding, playing). You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
For those who are ill with COVID-19, they recommend limited contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. If you have another member of your household who can take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet, that would be ideal. For those with a service animal or who live alone with their pets, wearing a facemask is recommended (if you can get one). And, as hard as it might be, don’t share food, kiss, or hug them and wash your hands before and after any contact with them. This is for their protection!
Create a Preparedness Plan
It’s hard enough to make hasty arrangements for pet care under normal circumstances, but with current Shelter in Place orders, it will be even more difficult to make last minute arrangements. To ease your mind, it’s best to create a plan in case you become ill:
- Find a family member or friend who can care for pets if you become too ill to continue doing so.
- Have crates, food, and extra supplies on hand for relocation if needed.
- Make sure your pet has proper identification, including a collar with ID tag and your contact information and be sure your contact information is updated with your pet’s microchip company.
- Ensure that all medications are documented, including dosage and administering directions.
- Keep all vaccines up to date and have copies of those records available in the event that boarding becomes necessary.
Also, local shelters and animal services agencies can help you find out what support is available if you don’t have the ability to do all of the above. They may know how to access temporary housing for pets, donated supplies, subsidized veterinary services, and other resources to help you care for your pets during this time.
What we’re dealing with is unprecedented and the best way to make it through is by helping each other (while practicing social distancing, of course). Most businesses are more than happy to work with you to figure out the safest way to get you the supplies and care you need for your beloved pets. The silver lining of all this, besides the inspiring stories of all the ways people are showing up for each other, is that it’s a great opportunity to deepen the bond between you and your pets with extra walks, playtime, and snuggles. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful source of much-needed comfort during this stressful time.
Do you have more tips? Comment below with your suggestions!