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How to make a plan for your pets as COVID-19 spreads

Animal shelters across the country are being inundated with pets of hospitalized coronavirus patients.

LARGO, Fla. — People across the globe are looking for ways to protect their family members from COVID-19. The SPCA of Tampa Bay says that should include your pets too.

"We've seen in places with a high number of cases, like New York and California, the shelters there have a lot of intake as one or two family members are hospitalized," said Martha Boden, CEO of SPCA of Tampa Bay.

Shelters in the bay area haven't seen the same uptick in animal intake yet, but they're preparing for it. 

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"The great thing about all of this is seeing the community come together," said Boden. 

Community members are making donations of pet food and supplies, so the animals at the SPCA of Tampa Bay can be fed and cared for during any 'safer- at-home' orders issued across the area.

Boden says while no one anticipates getting sick, you should make a clear plan in the event that you do become sick from COVID-19. That plan should include these things:

  • Identify a family member of friend who is willing and able to take care of your animals while you're sick
  • Make sure you have enough food and supplies, like leashes, litter or bedding, to last a few weeks
  • Get your pet up to date on their vaccines and keep a printed, updated record in case your pet has to be boarded somewhere or treated
  • Get enough medication if your pet requires it and outline a specific dosage schedule for someone unfamiliar with your pet
  • Reach out to your local shelter for assistance if you cannot do these things

The SPCA of Tampa Bay is taking other steps to ensure the health and safety of their animals and staff. They're practicing social distancing by only allowing visitors by appointment and letting in just a few people at a time. They're also adhering to CDC guidelines on sanitizing and hand washing. 

Boden says if you don't have pets, or have room for even more, now is a great time to consider adoption. Clearing the shelters helps them prepare for a possible situation of several people across Tampa getting sick and needing help caring for their animals. 

You can find more information here.

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