Local officials recommend prepping emergency plans for pets in wake of COVID-19

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — While the numbers of positive cases of coronavirus in Berrien County continues to grow, local officials are urging residents to have an emergency plan in place for pets in the case of contracting COVID-19.

Local officials recommend the following actions:

Designate an emergency caregiver

• Make prior arrangements with friends or family to care for pets in the event that you are hospitalized from COVID-19.

• Call your vet and local vets and ask if they can provide boarding in the event you become sick.

Build a kit to include basic survival items and items to keep your pet happy and comfortable. Kits should include:

• At least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container.

• At least three days of water specifically for your pets.

• Medicines and medical records.

• Important documents, including registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.

• A first aid kit with cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea, too.

• Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.

  Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.

• Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.

• A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.

• Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.