Learn about EHS’ response to COVID-19…
COVID-19 Resources for Pet Guardians
We have gathered the following information and resources to help you and your pets navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This page will be updated frequently as new information becomes available.
If you are part of an organization providing support to pet guardians during this time that may fit the resources on this page, please email your information to email@example.com.
For information on the Edmonton Humane Society’s response to COVID-19, please visit edmontonhumanesociety.com/covid.
Top Things to Know:
- There is currently no evidence to suggest that pets or animals can give COVID-19 to humans.
- Physical distancing should include your pets, just like the rest of your human family members. Do not let pets interact with others outside of your household.
- Have an emergency plan in place for someone to care for your pets in case you get sick.
Frequently Asked Questions
Illness from COVID-19 is a result of human-to-human transmission. While there have been some cases of animals getting COVID-19 from humans, there is currently no evidence that pets/animals can give COVID-19 to people.
To date, the handful of cases where pets or animals have contracted the virus through close contact with infected people includes domestic and wild cats, dogs, and mink. There is also evidence that ferrets are susceptible.
Provided you and your pet are both healthy, it is safe to interact as normal with each other. Physical distancing should be practiced for interactions with any other humans, pets or animals outside of your household, just as you would do with your human family members. This means:
- not allowing your pet to interact with other people or animals when outside, including keeping cats indoors or only within a contained space (catio) in your yard
- keeping your dogs on leash when not at home
- physical distancing yourself and your pet (at least 6 feet apart) from any humans or animals that approach you.
If you become ill it is best to immediately follow all public health recommendations, which includes avoiding close contact with your pets.
If this is not possible, wash your hands before and after touching your pet, their food, and any supplies. Also be sure to cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, away from your pet.
If possible, it is best to have a plan in place for another member of your household or a trusted pet-sitter to take over primary care for your pet. Make sure to confirm with your pet-sitter in advance that they will have access to your home if needed, know where to find supplies, and understand any specialized care needs. You should have an emergency kit prepared with the following:
- At least two weeks worth of pet supplies, including food and medications
- Contact information for your veterinarian in case your pet becomes ill or injured
- An emergency pet caregiving agreement (an example can be downloaded here, courtesy of RedRover)
Other recommendations include seeking a kennel or temporary boarding facility in your local community. Some emergency boarding providers are included in the resource links below.
Also see our Emergency Preparedness with Pets section below…
If you believe your pet is ill, call your veterinarian. If you do not have a veterinarian, you can find one through the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) here. The Edmonton Humane Society cannot provide veterinary care or advice for owned animals.
Early detection and assistance for ill pets is critical to ensuring they have the best chance of recovery. Do not postpone seeking medical attention if your pet becomes ill – many vet clinics remain open for care and are providing advice and assessments over the phone for ill pets.
We understand many people are facing financial challenges with the current economy. See our Financial Supports for Veterinary Care section below for a list of options to help get the care your pet needs…
We understand many people are facing financial challenges with the current economy. Thankfully, there are resources available who can help provide pet food. See our Alberta Pet Food Banks and Alberta People Food Banks sections below for a list of food banks across our province…
Mental games are of huge benefit to both people and pets. If you are restricted from accessing your usual exercise for your pet, there is a wealth of training and enrichment resources available online that can help keep your pets preoccupied and happy. It is also important to start practicing training activities that help prevent separation anxiety, once we return to our normal routines.
Here are some recommended training and enrichment videos/resources we recommend:
- EHS Free Pet Behaviour Resources
- Fear Free Happy Homes COVID-19 Resources
- Dogs Trust Dog Training Resources
- Home School the Dog from DogsThat.com
- ASPCA DIY Canine Enrichment
- ASPCA DIY Feline Enrichment
- ASPCA At-Home Tips for Keeping Your Pets busy and Engaged
To help prevent and/or manage separation anxiety in your pet, we recommend:
- EHS Dog Behaviour Guide: Separation Anxiety
- Free Free At Home Webinar – Now You’re Here, Now You’re Not: Preparing Your Pet for Yet Another Change
- Fear Free At Home: Helping Dogs with Separation Anxiety
- ASPCA Common Dog Behaviour Issues: Separation Anxiety
If you are experiencing other behaviour issues with your pet, we recommend:
The Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) is continuing to take in animals on an emergency basis (such as strays in distress due to illness/injury). While we are closed to the general public, our medical, animal care and behaviour staff continue to provide excellent care to the animals in our shelter to ensure their welfare needs are met. Many of our animals have also been moved into foster homes.
To learn more about our response to COVID-19, visit edmontonhumanesociety.com/covid
Pet Behaviour Support
Our pets can also be greatly affected by the changes in our daily lives due to the pandemic. If you are experiencing behavioural difficulties with your cat or dog and would like to talk to a professional about your concerns, our EHS trainers are here to support you.
- Check out our free pet behaviour resources
- Email or call us
- Ask your question
- Tell us the best way and time to reach you back
- Allow for 1-2 business days for our behavior experts to answer your questions and give suggestions on how to handle your situation
Phone 780-491-3521 to reach our free pet behaviour hotline, or email us through the button below.
More Helpful Resources
We understand that finding a rental property that accepts pets can be a challenge so we’ve put together a full PDF guide for you to download. This document is full of useful information, advice and links for anyone looking to rent with their animal companion.
We recommend the following resources for accurate, up-to-date and scientifically-backed information on COVID-19 and pets:
- Worms & Germs Blog – blog posts by Dr. Scott Weese, Chief of Infection Control at the Ontario Veterinary College, featuring information on animals/pets and COVID-19
- Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) – information for pet/animal owners and accessing veterinary care in Alberta
- Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) – information on Animals in Canada and COVID-19
- Alberta Veterinary Medical Association – information on vet services and animal health specific to Alberta
- Government of Canada – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – information for consumers about food safety and animal health
- American Veterinary Medical Association – information on SARS-CoV-2 in animals
- World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) – questions and answers on the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), including animals and SARS-CoV-2
Be prepared for an emergency in advanced will give you peace of mind that both you and your pets will have what you need in the event of a crisis.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is recommended that you have 14 days worth of supplies in case you are required to quarantine. Prepare following these steps:
- Prepare your supplies, including:
- Food & Water: Non-perishable foods are best and recommended to be kept in airtight and waterproof containers. Also ensure you have enough water for yourself, family, and pets.
- Medicines & Medical Records: Important medicines and health records should be kept in a waterproof container. Prepare a document that outlines feeding and any medication instructions for your pet. Include copies of up-to-date vaccination records, in case your pet needs to be housed at a boarding facility temporarily.
- First Aid Kit: Work with your veterinarian to determine what these supplies may include for your pet. Standard kits often include: cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; medical gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a standard and pet first aid reference book
- Collar with ID tag, harness or leash: Permanent identification such as microchips, tattoos, and database registration (e.g. pet licensing through your local animal control) are always recommended. Additionally, pets should always wear a collar with ID tags and current vaccinations. Keeping a backup of these items in your supplies along with any pet registration, medical records, and recent photo can be helpful if you become separated.
- Crate or other pet carrier: A carrier large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down in will aid in their safety and comfort. Be proactive and ensure your pet is trained to comfortably enter and stay in a kennel for a period of time.
- Sanitation: Include litter and box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and cleaning supplies such as pure chlorine bleach without scents, added cleaners, or marked as color safe. Bleach can be used as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach) as well as to purify water in an emergency (16 drops to one gallon of water)
- Familiar Items: Favourite toys, treats, or bedding will help reduce stress for your pet.
- Plan for Action
- Gather information: Ensure you gather as much information as possible and listen to the advice of local authorities, trusted media sources and follow all recommendations if told to evacuate, shelter-in-place, or seek medical treatment.
- Speak to your local veterinarians: Not just for the types of items to include in your kit for your pets but also seek information on possible shelters and services that your pet might need in an emergency. Have a list of resources handy in your kit and also pick up a sticker or note for your home that indicates the number of and type of pets in your home for authorities, in case it isn’t practical to take them with you (for example, if you are taken to hospital so your emergency pet caregiver should be contacted).
- Plan for where you or your pets may need to go: In case you’re unable to care for your pet due to an emergency, make a list of family, friends, kennels or boarding facilities where your pet could possibly go. Speak with these possible caregivers in advance so they have all the necessary details should anything happen.
- Secure your kit and assign buddies: Having your kit in a designated location and roles for family members can help save valuable time in an emergency. Assigning jobs and buddies helps give a sense of purpose and focus during times of uncertainty. Buddies can also be neighbors, friends, and relatives.
- Stay Informed
- Building your kit, having resources, as well as contact lists ready, and keeping informed of the most likely types of events in your region will help you navigate this difficult time. Review trusted information from government agencies about the types of events and seek out additional recommendations and resources to strengthen your plan.
- The more you can do to prepare for an emergency, the less you will have to worry about if the unthinkable happens. Planning for your pets makes sense. Get ready now.
For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the Government of Canada Get Prepared website.
The following programs are available in Alberta for those requiring emergency boarding for their pets:
- CAWS (Companion Animal Welfare Society) Guardian Angel Program – For those who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 OR who are leaving situations of domestic violence and need care for their pets.
- Alberta SPCA Pet Safekeeping Program – For those who are leaving situations of domestic violence and need care for their pets
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, the Government of Alberta also offers a 24-hour Family Violence Information Line with anonymous support at 310-1818, or find more information here.
The following food banks and organizations help to provide pet food supplies:
*Note: if you are viewing on mobile, you may need to scroll right on the below table to see the contact details for each food bank.
|Edmonton – Please note the Pet Food Bank can currently be accessed in the Edmonton Expo Centre, Hall A||Boyle Street’s Pet Food Bank|
|Edmonton & Alberta (Outside Calgary)||Alberta SPCA Help for Animals||See Website for Contact Form|
|Calgary||AARCS Food Assistance Program||Request Online|
|Red Deer||Alberta Animal Services or Red Deer Food Bank||403-347-2388 / 403-346-1505|
|Lethbridge||City of Lethbridge Pet Food Bank||403-320-4099|
|Nanton||NAPS Pet Food Bank|
|Fort McMurray||Fort McMurray SPCA Pet Food Bank||780-743-8997|
|Across Alberta (Edmonton, Red Deer, Claresholm, Strathmore, Crossfield, Cold Lake, Calgary, Bonnyville and Hines Creek)||ALPL Pet Food Banks||See Website for Contact Info Based on Location|
The below food banks for people may also have some supplies for pets. We recommend calling in advance to check supplies.
*Note: if you are viewing on mobile, you may need to scroll right on the below table to see the contact details for each food bank.
We understand many people are facing financial challenges in the current economy and thank you for exploring financial support options to ensure your pet can get the veterinary care it needs. Here are some we recommend looking into:
- If you are low income, disabled or a senior residing within Alberta, speak to your veterinarian about eligibility through the Tails of Help
- If you are in Edmonton and from a vulnerable population, you may qualify for some assistance from the Alberta Helping Animals Society.
- Inquire at your veterinary clinic about payment options or plans.
- Ask friends or family members for assistance.
- Consider financing through Petcard
- Many VCA Canada Veterinary Centres have a financing option through PayBright and recommended pet insurance providers.
- Search for personal lending organizations that help with pet care/veterinary loans.
We also highly recommend checking out pet insurance options to help cover the costs of unexpected veterinary care in the future.