COVID-19 and Animal Welfare

Humane Canada™ suggests including pets in preparedness plan amid COVID-19 concerns.

With the number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on the rise worldwide, it is important for Canadians to include their pets in preparedness plans. Humane Canada™ is encouraging Canadians to create a preparedness plan that includes their pets in the event their community is impacted by the virus that causes COVID-19. While there is currently no evidence you can contract COVID-19 from your pet, it’s important to plan ahead to protect your pets in case your own health is compromised.

Tips on including your pets in an emergency preparedness plan:

  1. Prepare an emergency kit: Keep at least a two-week supply of pet food and water for your pets, as well as any medications they may need and a travel crate properly labeled with your pet’s name and your contact information.
  2. Identify trusted family or friends who can care for your pets: Have at least three options lined up in case they become sick or hospitalized. Ensure you have spoken with these individuals before you consider them an option.
  3. Create a written emergency plan for each pet: Include your name and contact information, your pet’s feeding schedule, any medical conditions and treatment instructions. Document your pet’s vaccination status, and list the contact information for your veterinarian.

Unless you are hospitalized and live alone, keep your pets with you.

We recommend even if you have to self-quarantine, take the necessary precautions for all your loved ones including your pets – the best place for them is at home with you. Animals should also be social distancing on walks, keeping 2 metres of distance from other people and pets.

Humane Canada™ recommends staying diligent in preparations, but not overreacting to COVID-19 concerns. By creating a preparedness plan ahead of time for the unlikely event it becomes necessary to put into motion, as a pet owner, you can do your part to ensure shelter resources as an essential service provider do not become overwhelmed. Moreover, your pets will be spared from unnecessary stress.

PSA: Cut Your Strings.

More than one year into the pandemic, wearing face masks is the new norm. Sadly, disposing of these masks has led to animals suffering. If you’re using disposable PPE, please remember to properly dispose of it, which includes the cutting of face mask strings in order to keep wildlife protected. You could truly save an animals life!

What is the impact of COVID-19 on humane societies and SPCAs?

Humane societies and SPCAs are our country’s safety net for animals. The global pandemic has impacted shelter operations in many areas:

•       Immediate and steep reduction in revenue between 20% – 77% depending on location and size of the organization with the hardest hit being in the smaller communities. 

•       Humane societies and SPCAs of all sizes depend on events (galas, dog walks, March break and summer camps, birthday parties etc.) for fundraising. Immediate and long-term event cancellations across the country have led to an on-going 20 – 40% reduction in revenue. 

•       60% of organizations continue to experience staff reductions and layoffs.

•       Rapid decrease in available volunteers. 

•       Increased demand and expense for shelter retrofits, PPE and training for social distancing.

•       85% of shelters are open by appointment only.

•       Between 20 – 60% increase in fostering and adoption demand during the height of the pandemic and remains higher than average in year over year comparison.

•       42% increase in community services demand including pet food banks, emergency care and neglect investigations.

Humane societies and SPCAs rely on donations from caring individuals to continue providing support to vulnerable animals and vulnerable members in our communities.

If you are in the position to do so, please consider making a financial gift to your local humane society, SPCA, municipal shelter or rescue.

You can find your local animal welfare organization here and here.

We would like to thank PetSmart Charities® of Canada for their ongoing commitment to animal welfare through the COVID-19 pandemic.