Section 1: Safety and Preparedness
How can I best care for my pet during this time?
The ASPCA encourages all pet owners to incorporate pets into their preparedness plans in the event they are impacted by COVID-19. Pet owners should make contingency plans with family, friends or neighbors, so that they have two or more emergency caregivers who can provide care for their pet if they are unable to do so – either in the owner’s home or by temporarily relocating the animal to a caretaker’s home, a boarding kennel or veterinary office. Emergency caretakers should have keys and written permission to access the owner's residence and to make decisions for the pet.
In addition to stocking up on essential supplies such as pet food and medications, pet owners should keep pet identification and veterinary information in one place. Veterinary contact information should also be easily accessible.
Is COVID-19 transmittable between humans and animals?
Based on current evidence, companion animals do not play a meaningful role in the transmission of COVID-19 and there have been no documented cases of companion animals transmitting the virus to people. We are continuing to monitor new information as it becomes available.
What should I do if I get sick? Should I avoid contact with my pet?
Pet owners impacted by COVID-19 can and should keep their pets with them while they are in home quarantine, as recommended by the CDC, AVMA, WHO, OIE, WSAVA and others. You should have another member of the household provide care for animals, if possible. Where that isn’t possible, you should limit close contact with your pets, wash your hands regularly, and wear a face mask while caring for animals.
If you become sick or hospitalized, you should refer to your preparedness plan (detailed above) and activate emergency caretakers to provide care for your pets.
I heard that there were some animals, including pet cats and dogs, infected with COVID-19. What does that mean for domestic pets?
Spread of COVID-19 is the result of person-to-person transmission and the risk to companion animals, at this time, is believed to be low. There is no evidence that companion animals play a meaningful role in spreading the virus. We are continuing to monitor new information as it becomes available.
Section 2: ASPCA Operations and COVID-19 Response
Is the ASPCA still operating?
The ASPCA is committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our staff, the animals in our care and the communities we serve We are currently doing everything we can to maintain our services while balancing the safety of our staff with our work to help animals, animal welfare organizations, and communities in need. Please check aspca.org for the latest updates on which services are currently available.
Is the ASPCA taking action to help pets and pet owners affected by COVID-19?
Yes! In order to assist pet owners and animal welfare organizations affected by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we launched the ASPCA Relief & Recovery Initiative, a $7.5 million multi-pronged strategic relief response to the crisis. The response included an emergency relief fund for animal welfare organizations in critical need as well as regional pet food distribution centers for vulnerable pet owners. Learn more about all of the ASPCA’s relief efforts, and please consider making a donation to our lifesaving efforts if you possibly can.
Is the ASPCA providing free pet food?
The pet food distribution centers were open for a limited time in 2020, and the service is not currently available. Through our food distribution efforts, we distributed 3.8 million pounds of dog, cat and horse food, which served more than 280,000 animals in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Asheville, North Carolina. We also continue to partner with food banks through grant funding, providing millions of meals to animals in need.
Section 3: How to Help
How can I help the ASPCA?
In these uncertain times, the ASPCA’s work doesn’t stop. There are many animals in our care—at our Adoption Center, in our behavioral rehabilitation programs and in our kitten nursery—who continue to receive the same level of service from our dedicated staff. Please consider making a donation to help us remain prepared for the unknown and help vulnerable animals who depend on us.
How can I help foster or adopt an animal from the ASPCA during this time?
We’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from the community with volunteers stepping up to foster animals. At this time, we do not have a need for additional foster caregivers, but we will in the coming months. We encourage New York City and Los Angeles residents to complete our online application process so you can be ready to take in foster animals when they become available.
If you live in the New York City or Los Angeles area and are interested in adopting, please visit our website to learn more about the animals who are looking for loving homes. In alignment with the CDC’s guidelines around social distancing, our foster program is set up to provide minimal-exposure and (human-human) contact-free adoptions.
How can I help animal shelters and shelter pets?
COVID-19 has put an immense amount of stress on animal shelters across the country. While each shelter is facing unique challenges specific to its communities, many animal shelters and rescue groups have faced reduced staff and volunteer support during this challenging time and support from the community is badly needed. We encourage you to contact your local shelter or rescue to see where their greatest needs lie. Some great ways to help may include fostering a pet in your home, adopting a shelter pet, or making a charitable gift. Search for local shelters near you.