Care for pets

If you or a family member contracts COVID-19 and must have someone else care for your pets, help everyone stay healthy with the following guidelines developed by the American Veterinary Medical Association in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the shelter medicine community. Among their recommendations: People entering your home should wear masks, gloves and other protective wear, including foot coverings. Animals exposed to people with the virus should be housed separately from other animals in the home. Dogs may be walked outdoors for exercise and elimination but should avoid direct contact with other animals. Pets do not spread the virus, but they can acquire it from humans.

Lend a hand to shelters

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is launching a $5 million initiative to help provide pet food to vulnerable pet owners and support animal welfare organizations that may be struggling financially. Some shelters, including some in Minnesota, are remaining open during the pandemic but have instituted safety practices to limit virus exposure, such as requiring appointments to bring in or view animals for adoption, drive-up fostering and adoptions, and online training. If you’re in a position to help, contact your local shelter to find out its needs.

Recognize a stressed pet

Pets show stress in many different ways. Yawning, showing the whites of their eyes (nicknamed whale eye), excessive licking or grooming, sudden hair loss (like when your pet is at the vet and seems to be shedding like crazy), increased barking or whining, trembling, pacing, suddenly starting to hide, eating less and breaking housetraining can all be signs that pets are anxious. Learn more about recognizing, preventing and managing pet stress at

Pet Connection