Midcoast Humane is closely following the developments around COVID-19 as it relates to pets and is dedicated to keeping you up to date with the latest facts. Responses to our most Frequently Asked Questions can be seen below.
For more information about how Midcoast Humane is adapting during this crisis, please click here.
For information on how to adopt an animal from Midcoast Humane, please click here.
- Should I surrender my animal so I don’t get COVID-19?
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” Therefore, we do not feel that it is in the best interest of your companion animal to be surrendered to an animal shelter and subjected to the potential array of diseases and stressors they may encounter there. Please also consider that once you forfeit your rights to an animal by surrendering ownership, the animal cannot be returned to you.
- Can I get sick from my animal?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread COVID-19 infection to people.” Please sign up for alerts on government, veterinary, and/or animal welfare websites such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to stay abreast of current research and recommendations regarding the relationship between COVID-19, animals and humans.
- Is it safe to adopt an animal right now?
According to the CDC, “based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. There is no reason to think that any animals, including shelter pets, play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” Midcoast Humane has been safely conducting adoptions by appointment only for dogs, cats and small animals since March 30th. If interested in seeing our animals available for adoption, please visit our website at www.midcoasthumane.org
- I have COVID-19 – will you take my pet?
To protect our employees who are urgently needed to care for sick and injured animals in our two shelters, we are not interacting with any members of the public who exhibit symptoms or are flagged on our screening questions. If you are symptomatic, have a confirmed case of COVID-19, or have been near someone who is sick or symptomatic, our staff will not be able to serve you.
The best option for all is to have another member of your household, or a friend or family member, care for your animal(s) while you are sick. A second smart option is to shelter in place with the animal(s). The CDC suggests avoiding contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food or bedding while either is not feeling well. If you must care for your pet, or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them. Please note that animals rely on cues from your face and your smells to shape their assessments of you and their environment. Wearing a mask and approaching an animal can be very scary and stressful for them. It is best to have a healthy person, not in need of a mask, interact with your pet(s).
We also recommend practicing safe distancing with your pet(s) for their protection just as you would with any person in your household.
- I think my pet has COVID-19 – what should I do?
Coughing and respiratory distress in pets is not typical. You should call your veterinarian, or a veterinary hospital, and see if they would like you to bring your pet in to be seen. There are other issues and viruses that could impact an animal and cause respiratory problems, fatigue and/or other symptoms. The health status of your pet is best determined by a licensed veterinarian.
- How can I keep my pet safe from COVID-19?
The CDC recommends taking the following measures:
- Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household
- Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people
- Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals
- Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
- What can I do to be prepared and protect my pet(s)?
It is a good idea to plan ahead to ensure your pet’s safety by taking the following steps:
- Make sure that you have enough of your pet’s food and medications on hand, along with extra supplies such as kitty litter and treats, and a crate in case your pet needs to be moved
- Ensure medications are labeled properly, with documented dosages and administering directions clearly visible so another person can continue to administer them properly if you get sick. Be sure to add any important information such as “take with food” or “hide pill in wet food”
- Make an advance plan for someone outside of your family, or a boarding facility, to look after your pets should you become ill or hospitalized
- Keep vaccinations up to date in case boarding is needed (discuss with your vet, especially if you have never boarded your pet before)
- Ensure that your animal has proper identification in the form of a collar, ID tag and a microchip.
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