Your pet needs a guardian and a plan.

The Covid-19 pandemic is prompting people to think about alternative care for their pets should they become incapacitated. I’ve had several worried callers reach out to me asking if I can care for their pets if they become ill. They are smart to be putting a plan in place. Here are the tips I have offered my friends and clients:

Update Your Pet’s Information

Be sure you have your pet’s current vaccine information, feeding instructions, medical history, and the address and phone number of your emergency contacts and veterinarian. Remember, boarding facilities require your pets to have up to date vaccines before they will allow them in day or overnight programs.  

You should have a guardianship form naming a specific person who has agreed to care for your pet if you are no longer able to do so. The form should list the friend, neighbor, relative, or a professional caregiver who can take responsibility for your pet on a temporary basis as well as the long term plan for your pet’s care. You can download the guardianship form here and then fill it out for each of your pets. Also, consider the financial burden that comes with pet care and make arrangements to support your pet’s temporary living arrangement.

Prepare a Comfort Kit

Stub the cat
Blankets bring comfort.

Have your pet’s comfort kit ready before you need it. The kit includes food, medications and prescriptions with instructions, vet’s contact information, favorite toys, treats, a blanket and bedding, and a leash for your dog.  Be sure that your pet has their proper ID tags on their collar or harness and microchip information. Include a current photo of your pet for their caregivers in the event they get separated.  If you have a carrier for transport, set it out where it can be easily located.  

Long Term Planning

Provide instructions for pets that are ill or elderly.  Consider leaving your credit card number on file with your local vet in case your pet has to see the doctor or be hospitalized.  And also, be clear about your wishes should your pet become terminally ill or has no quality of life.

If you are interested in permanently placing your pet, it is important to present a full picture of their personality and habits. A rambunctious dog would be a better match with an outdoorsy type rather than a bookworm who would much prefer a lap cat for company.

By preparing now, you’ll be ready for the unexpected. If you have other pet care concerns, please contact me and I will help if I am able.