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Private Pet Owners Guidance

March 20, 2020 12:00 AM
By: Admin

Private Pet Owners Guidance

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes that pets are a significant part of our families and communities; plans should be in place at an individual and community level, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PA Department of Agriculture has sourced the following guidelines to help pet owners protect both themselves and their pets during the COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

While officials are still learning about COVID-19 in pets, currently, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has no information that suggests that pets play a role in the virus' spread in the United States.

Pet owners are encouraged to buy pet food and supplies as they normally would, without stockpiling, so that all pet owners can continue to have reliable access. Pet food manufacturers and distributors are considered life-sustaining businesses and can remain operational but should practice social distancing and review best practices for grocery stores and delivery networks. The department encourages pet owners to reach out to neighbors who may be experiencing hardships during COVID-19 mitigation and help as able, while practicing social distancing. Pet owners that may experience hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic can consider seeking long-term foster care. A list of pet food pantries is available at

We encourage pet owners to follow these key points:

  • Identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if someone in the household becomes ill.

  • Have crates, food, and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets.
  • Practice social distancing when walking or exercising pets.
  • If your pets have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is recommended to give them a bath and limit contact with anyone under quarantine.
  • Pet owners are reminded to wash hands frequently throughout the day with hot water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.

  • Keep documentation of pet's vaccination status readily available should boarding become necessary.
  • Ensure medications are documented with dosages and administration directions, including the prescription and the contact information for your veterinarian.
  • Pets should have identification: collar with dog license and rabies tag or any other vanity style tag with owner information. Information can also be placed on the pet's cage depending, on the type of pet.
  • Place a list of pets in the home on your front door for emergency responders. Include a description of each animal, location in home or on the property, and any other pertinent information specific to each animal.

Additional resources:

Updated 4/23/20

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