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Planning For Your Dog’s Care If You Become Ill With Covid-19

While some members of the population are more at risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 than others, it is still a virus that anyone can catch, and which can make even some younger people in seemingly good health very ill.

If you have a dog, even if you’re fully healthy and take all possible steps to avoid contracting Covid, you should still make a theoretical plan for your dog’s care in the event that you did become ill, and so were unable to leave home to walk your dog and potentially, were unable to care for their other needs too.

This article will tell you what to think about when it comes to planning for your dog’s care in case you became ill with Covid-19. Read on to learn more.

Keep two weeks of food and meds in (but not more than a month)

First of all, it can be difficult at the moment to know how much of your essentials (ranging from toilet paper to your dog’s food) you should keep in reserve. 

On the one hand, Covid restrictions and the Brexit transition is resulting in some products becoming unavailable or seeing supply chain disruption, but on the other hand, people panic-buying and stockpiling goods out of perceived and unfounded fears of shortages messes up the supply chain and limits availability far worse!

Coupled with this, we’re being asked to go out as infrequently as possible and so when we do shop, to get enough to keep us going without needing another trip soon; but also once more, not to buy more than we need.

Knowing then how much dog food and how much of any medication for the dog should be kept at home can be complicated anyway, but factor in planning for potential illness due to Covid, and also the expiry date of foods and medications, and it can be really hard to know what do to.

A good balance that will ensure you never run short but also don’t hold too much of anything is to keep two to four weeks of your dog’s food and medication on hand at all times, so that if you developed Covid-19 and either couldn’t go out or needed someone else to care for your dog, you’d be prepared and not have to worry about how to source their essentials while you were unwell.

Consider the logistics of how someone could help with your dog if needed 

It can be hard to think about what you might need if you became ill in the future when you’re feeling just fine, but it is a good idea to run the what-ifs and consider the logistics of how things would work if you did become ill and needed help with your dog.

For instance, who would be able to walk them and how could you arrange this, how could you hand your dog off to them without contact and risk of exposure, and who could care for your dog if you were too sick to even feed or provide their care at home, or if you were taken into hospital.

Options to consider include things like dog walkers, kennels, friends, family and neighbours, local community care and volunteering groups (many of which have only formed in the last year due to Colvid-19) and dog sitters who might be able to care for your dog in their home.


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Draw up comprehensive information about your dog and their needs before you need it

If you fell ill with Covid and were feeling very poorly and this came as a surprise to you, you would no doubt struggle to try to let anyone who might be helping with your dog know the fine details of what they need and how they’re cared for.

It is important to draw this up while you’re healthy and hope you never need it! Include things like what and when your dog eats and how much, when they usually get walked and for how long, how they behave on the lead, if and how they are allowed off the lead, and vitally, any behavioural issues, fears, or potential problems someone else might face, even if that’s really unlikely.

Cover other things too like when they usually need the toilet, how they ask to get out, if they tend to scavenge or try to steal food, and what they’re allowed and not allowed to do; like sleep on beds.

Include information on who your dog’s vet is and the details your dog is registered under, any health issues or concerns, if they need grooming and brushing and how, and if they need to see a groomer at all as a welfare issue.

The more information you can provide, the better.

What if you don’t have friends or family that could help?

All of this is moot if you’re worrying your socks off over finding someone to help you if you needed it; perhaps because you don’t know who or where to ask, or have asked the people you thought might be willing to be on standby and found them unable.

Looking up local support and community groups as mentioned earlier can be really helpful, and your local vet and also rehoming charities can usually help and advise too. Many dog owners are reluctant to contact charities and shelters for advice, but doing so does not mean you intend to give your dog up; just make use if their insights, and potential network of contacts that might be able to help you, advise you, or foster your dog if you became ill.

Make provision for your dog in your will

Finally, the topic of wills and what night happen to your dog after your death is never a comfortable one, but particularly given Covid-19, is something that many people are actively avoiding; and it shouldn’t be. Whether you’re very vulnerable or would likely weather Covid-19 infection with very little concern, if you have a dog, even when you’re young, fit and healthy, it is a very good idea to have a basic will.

This should indicate by whom and possibly how you’d like your dog cared for after your death (with said party informed and asked first!) and perhaps allocating some money to their care or needs. If you find that you would need to surrender your dog to a shelter if the worst happened, talking to your shelter of choice and agreeing this, and leaving directions and a donation for your dog’s care and rehoming in your will is a good thing to do too.


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