COVID-19: Help and Resources

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Berkeley Humane’s regular open hours are canceled until it is safe to resume. Our adoptions are by appointment only. If you have a specific animal you would like to adopt, you must first complete an online application.

Though many programs are closed, many safety net programs are operating, including: 

  1. Berkeley Humane’s Pet Food Pantry provides free dog and cat food to our community on Friday and Sunday mornings.
  2. Our Behavior Advice line is free behavior and training advice by licensed trainers and behavior experts.
  3. Our behavior and veterinary team have made a series of videos about training, behavior, and health of your pet. Watch them all here
  4. Our end-of-life care provides compassionate support to people in the end of their pet’s life.

Email or call 510.845.7735

Right now, there is so much information flying around, and it’s hard to know what to do. It’s even harder when the information changes so frequently. Berkeley Humane is putting together the most up-to-date information about how to take care of your pet while sheltering in place. Check back frequently to stay on top of the best recommendations. 

Your veterinarian is classed as an essential service, so they should be open. If you have any questions, your first call should be to them. They can give you much more specific recommendations about your companion animal’s needs. 

Though Berkeley Humane’s Adoption Center is closed to maintain social distancing, several resources are available:

Your veterinarian is probably canceling non-essential appointments, including:  

  • checkups,  
  • adult vaccine boosters,  
  • regular spay/neuters,  
  • elective procedures, and  
  • routine dental cleanings.

Appointments likely to be kept include:

  • emergencies,  
  • Treatment of active infections (skin, ear, urinary, respiratory, etc.),  
  • conditions affecting the animal’s quality of life that could worsen quickly,  
  • ongoing care for heart disease, addison’s disease, or diabetes,  
  • treatment for pyometras, dystocias, severe lamenesses, devere dental disease,  
  • your pet is experiencing any lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, changes in drinking or urination. 

It’s important to keep you and your veterinary team safe during an appointment. Maintain at least 6’ of distance between you and the medical/desk staff. Know that your vet tech may take your pet to the appointment and ask you to stay in the car. If you can pay by credit card over the phone, that will eliminate one more potential vector of transmission. Bring your own pen to sign documents. 

Transmission of COVID-19 primarily occurs when there is contact with an infected person’s body secretions, like saliva or mucous. Transmission via touching contaminated surfaces then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes is also possible, but seems to be less common. Smooth surfaces like countertops or doorknobs transmit the virus better than porous surfaces like paper money or pet fur. 

Because your pet’s hair is porous and also fibrous, it is very unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 by petting or playing with your pet. Though more than two dogs/cats have tested positive for COVID-19, experts agree that there is no evidence to indicate that pets spread the virus to other animals, including people. However, because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; and regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys. 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and your pet has an emergency, make sure the veterinarian knows about your symptoms. If someone healthy can bring your pet to the vet, that can be a good option. If not, your vet may do a telemedicine appointment. Or they may get your pet from your car in Personal Protective Equipment.  

If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys). 

Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.” 

For more information, the American Veterinary Medical Association put together a handout for the humans of companion animals: View Here
Please read this joint Statement from local animal shelters