Article by Brandon Butler,

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, there may come a time when you need to leave your pets with a sitter if you begin to develop symptoms of COVID-19 — especially if you live alone and think you may need inpatient medical care. In the event that you need someone to look after your pets as you recover from the coronavirus, the following tips will help you to ensure that your pets are safe, healthy, and well-cared for while you’re in the hospital.

Create an Emergency Care Plan Now

If you haven’t already created an emergency plan for your animal companion(s), now is the time to do it. Ideally, it’s best to have this plan in place before you get sick — as this will give you more time to find a reliable sitter or trusted family member or friend to look after your pets in an emergency.

When creating your emergency care plan, be sure to include the following:

  • A checklist of everything your feathered or furry family members will need in an emergency, such as food, toys, treats, bedding, and at least two-week’s worth of medications
  • A list of each pet’s prescribed medications, along with dosages and instructions for administering the medicine
  • A list of the supplies you’ll need to transport your pet, such as crates or carriers
  • A record of your pet’s vaccinations, licenses, and microchip ID number, if applicable
  • A personality profile and physical description of each pet
  • Contact information for your veterinarian
  • Written instructions and preparations if anything unfortunate should happen to your pet.

Find a Reliable Pet Sitter

When creating an emergency care plan for your pets, you’ll also need to compile a list of potential sitters and boarding facilities in your area. By researching boarding facilities and sitters in advance and including this information in your pet’s care plan, you’ll be well-prepared in the event of a coronavirus-related emergency. While you may be able to care for your pets at home if you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should be prepared in case you need to seek inpatient medical attention or self-quarantine for several weeks.

When hiring a pet sitter to look after your animal companions, keep in mind that not all sitters are trained in exotic animal care. Therefore, you may need to look for exotic pet sitters if you have rabbits, birds, chickens, lizards, ferrets, guinea pigs, or hamsters. When contacting potential sitters, be sure to ask them about their experience with small animals and exotic pets.

Pack Everything Your Pet Needs

Once you have an emergency plan in place and an experienced sitter lined up, it’s time to pack everything your pets will need while they’re away from home. As you prepare for your sitter, put together detailed care instructions for each pet and refer to your emergency plan as a reminder of the things you’ll need to pack for your animal companions. Several essential items include carriers, crates, toys, and beds for each animal companion, and a two-week’s supply of food, medication, litter, and treats. And since these supplies can make a serious dent in your household budget, make sure you look for special savings like promo codes and coupons before you start loading up your cart.

To ensure that your animal companions are as comfortable and relaxed as possible when you leave them with your sitter for the next couple of weeks, you may also choose to purchase a new bed for your pets to sleep on. Bed caves, cubes, and heated models are excellent options for cats, rabbits, and small pups, while large dog breeds or older animals may be most comfortable lounging on an orthopedic bed. To comfort your pet while you’re away, you could also pack something that smells like you — such as an old blanket or shirt.

No pet owner hopes to leave his or her animal companions with a sitter during the coronavirus pandemic, but these tips will help to prepare you in the event that you need to seek inpatient treatment for COVID-19. Fortunately, many pet sitters are taking new clients amid the pandemic — and these tips will help you to ensure that your beloved animal companions are in the best hands while you’re away from home.


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