10 Tips: How to Help Your Animal Companions and Others During the COVID-19 Outbreak

10 Tips: How to Help Your Animal Companions and Others During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The worry of not being able to care for ourselves or our animal companions during a crisis can be paralysing. Few of us have had to consider a pandemic or the official responses to it until now.

In Defense of Animals has responded to the Berkeley-Oakland Firestorm, hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, Irma, and Florence, but this pandemic brings unforeseen challenges. We must think beyond the past trials we’ve endured and act in new ways.

Here's In Defense of Animals' 10 top tips to protect yourself and animals during this coronavirus pandemic:

1. Keep Your Animal Companions Safe During the Outbreak

Can humans get coronavirus from dogs or cats? Fortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say there is no evidence that animal companions can spread COVID-19 to humans. Do not abandon your animal companions. If you get sick, you should protect dogs, cats, birds and other animal companions like you would any other family member. Speak with friends, family or neighbors to make a plan to care for each other’s animals if you get quarantined with the virus–or if you ever become too ill to care for them. Have crates, food and extra supplies on hand. Keep all animal vaccines up to date and keep copies of veterinary records available. Write a set of instructions with how to dose and administer any medications, and include the original prescription from your veterinarian in your animal’s go bag. Lastly, ensure your animal companions’ ID-tag and microchip is up-to-date. Check it now!

2. Find Out What Caused the Coronavirus: Watch our Video.


Did you know that many killer diseases start with eating animals? Watch our video exposing the animal origin of the COVID-19 outbreak. Be sure to share this important video with your friends and family to help prevent future pandemics.

3. Say: Never Again. Take the Pledge.

The coronavirus pandemic should never have happened. Diseases like COVID-19 are the direct result of people eating animals. Please sign our pledge today to take a stand against these cruel practices, and protect future generations of people and other animals.

 4. Protect Your Animal Companions if You Have COVID-19

Can animal companions get COVID-19? Humans have transmitted the disease to dogs in a very small number of cases, but it is extremely unlikely your dog, cat, or other animal companions will contract this coronavirus. Protect animal companions like you would any other family member. It is a good precaution to discourage petting of your animal companions by anyone who doesn't live in your household. In the rare case that you infect an animal companion, they are unlikely to require advanced care.

5. Source Supplies for You and Your Animals Responsibly

It is important to ensure you have a two week supply of medications, daily supplies, and food for you and your animal companions. However, please do not purchase more supplies than you think you will need, as this will cause shortages for others, possibly resulting in deaths for other animals. Online delivery is available in nearly all areas and can be another option to making in-store purchases. Animal-friendly food choices that should be in your disaster-preparedness kit include dried pasta and canned beans. Download our Vegan Starter Guide for top tips and recipes:

6. Take Action for Animals

This pandemic is making many people think twice about the way we treat other animals. Globally, things are changing for the better in the wake of this outbreak: Vietnam is considering a ban on the wildlife trade; China temporarily shut down its wet markets and banned all trade and consumption of wild animals; and Shenzen became the first Chinese city to permanently ban consumption of dogs, cats and many wild animal species including snakes, frogs, and turtles! Now is the time for us to look at our own dirty laundry—banning our own wet markets, wildlife trade, hunting, factory farming, and the horrendous slaughter conditions for animal victims of the meat and dairy industry. If you’re not signed up already, sign up for our alerts to be the first to sign several urgent actions we are preparing for animals affected by the coronavirus outbreak. In the meantime, you can feel good about using your time at home to sign In Defense of Animals’ current urgent alerts to stop animal cruelty:


7. Write a Letter to the Editor 

Write to the letters page of your local newspaper noting that the disease was caused by eating animals. You can also share your tips for caring for animals in your area during the outbreak. Please encourage responders to work together to meet the needs of their communities – this includes serving the needs of other animal populations.

8. Take Advantage of Extra Time with Animals

If you're lucky enough to have animals at home, take advantage of our extra time with them. Get some fresh air while social distancing from others who live outside your home by walking your dog as often as possible. This will relieve stress for both of you. While you’re spending more time inside, think up some fun inside games such as hide the treat. Be sure to play with your animal companions during lock-downs or social distancing so that they get adequate exercise. Some dogs and cats enjoy watching other animals outside or on the video screen – our office dogs’ favorite are anything with squirrels. Search YouTube for videos to keep your animal friends entertained.

9. Adopt an Animal Companion

Animal shelters are being hit hard. Our sanctuaries and hands-on rescue facilities in Mississippi, Mumbai, and South Korea are still operational, but some shelters are being forced to close without staff around to care for the animals. If you don't already live with enough other animals, please consider adopting or volunteering to foster animals during this period to ease pressure on your local animal rescue. Read our blog to see what’s happening at Hope Animal Sanctuary during COVID-19.

10. Sponsor a Stranded Dog Meat Survivor

Public health concerns are having a massive impact on all our rescue and rehabilitation efforts both at home and abroad. Our rescue partners currently have 10 dog meat survivors awaiting transport from South Korea to loving forever homes in the United States and Canada. The costs for care and housing of delayed dogs is adding up day after day. It costs $150 for every month a dog is in our care. Every space they take prevents us from rescuing another dog from the dog meat trade. 

Please consider sponsoring a stranded dog meat survivor during the flight blackout:

If you know anyone traveling to the U.S. from South Korea, please click here to learn how to become a flight volunteer. 


In Defense of Animals has taken steps to safeguard our team and we encourage everyone to act swiftly to care for yourselves and your precious animal friends. Know that you can count on In Defense of Animals to be ready to help in any way we can. Although our office is shut, we want to assure you that our campaigns, programs, and sanctuaries are all continuing to run as we follow advised safety guidelines with our staff working from home whenever at all possible. We will continue to monitor incoming calls and will respond to those as quickly as possible.

Our Animal Activist Mentor line remains operational for any support you may need regarding animal concerns during the coronavirus outbreak. Please find information at the foot of this page with details of how to get in touch.

Sign the Pledge