COVID-19 & Pets - BC SPCA
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COVID-19 & Pets

We know these are uncertain times, but we are committed to ensuring that abused, neglected and homeless animals continue to receive emergency treatment and care, and that pet guardians receive up-to-date information to keep themselves and their pets safe. Read news updates on BC SPCA and COVID-19.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

What is the BC SPCA doing to help animals during the COVID-19 crisis?

The BC SPCA has continued providing full services to animals throughout the pandemic, having been deemed an essential service by the provincial government during the COVID-19 pandemic.  While some branches have now resumed normal public hours with social distancing and other protocols in place for public health and safety, others are still operating under a modified service model and are open to the public by appointment only for the processing of adoptions and the surrender of animals. Please check for information about your local branch.  Our veterinary facilities are open to the public and our animal protection officers continue to respond to complaints of animal cruelty and neglect, and to ensure that animals are removed from dangerous or violent situations. You can report animal cruelty by calling our Animal Helpline 1-855-622-7722.

Can I still adopt an animal?

Yes! Maintaining the flow of animals into new, loving homes is critical in order to free up space and resources to care for incoming animals. By adopting an animal you are helping us direct resources to the animals in most urgent need of care. In order to limit personal contact, we ask individuals to view our adoptable animals online and to fill out an online application form. A staff member will contact you to provide more information and to set up an appointment to meet the animal.

Can I foster an animal?

The BC SPCA is currently contacting existing volunteers for help with fostering. But we are assessing our needs daily and will reach out to the public if additional support is needed. Thank you!

Are shelters accepting surrendered animals?

Yes, we are accepting surrenders in locations where space and staffing capacity permit. Priority will be given to emergency situations. Please check with your local shelter more information.

I live alone. If I fall ill, will the SPCA be able to look after my animal?

The BC SPCA understands how concerning this is for pet guardians. We advise people be pro-active to reach out to family and friends who might be able to help out with your pets should you fall ill. We are currently developing emergency protocols and expanding our foster networks to ensure that we can help as many vulnerable pet guardians impacted by COVID-19 as possible within our capacity and resources. Please contact the BC SPCA Animal Helpline for more information 1-855-622-7722.

Can I get Coronavirus from my pet?

There are now a small number of cases and experimental studies indicating that some companion animals can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Current studies document rare cases of infection in select species such as domestic cats, dogs, ferrets, mink, and tigers, to name a few. The CDC’s current position is that “there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19”. .  While the likelihood of your pet becoming infected with COVID-19 is extremely unlikely, CDC and other prominent public health organizations agree more research is needed to understand the relationship between animals and the virus. If you’re a pet owner and wanting more information, the following resource from the CDC gives some helpful tips on living with pets during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Out of an abundance of caution the Centre for Disease Control recommends that sick individuals limit their contact with pets the way they would with other people. At this time, veterinary and public health experts do not recommend routine testing of companion animals for SARS-CoV-2.

Can I still walk my dog?

Yes, but please practice social distancing.The CDC recommends the following:

  • Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.
  • Avoid public places where a large number of people gather.
  • Do not put face coverings on pets. Covering a pet’s face could harm them.

If you are actively sick with flu-like symptoms, someone else should care for your pet and you should not leave the house.

What can I do to prepare for my pet’s needs in an emergency?

The BC SPCA encourages all pet guardians to include their animals in any emergency planning. Identify a family member, friend or service who can care for your pet if you are unable. Ensure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and other health care, keep at least a two-week supply of food and medication on hand (with clear instructions about dosages and how to administer your pet’s medications), and make sure your pet is microchipped and registered in the BC Pet Registry. See our full checklist (PDF) to make sure your pet is ready for an emergency.

How can I help animals during this crisis?

Even though much of our society seems to be on hold, animal cruelty and neglect is not. Your donations make a life-saving difference for animals cared for by the BC SPCA, and your generosity is needed more urgently than ever before. Thank you!

Your local SPCA may need supplies and other gifts-in-kind as well. Check with your local branch to find out how you can help. Items can be left outside the door for staff to pick up to limit personal contact. Needs can change rapidly, so sign up below to be included on email news updates.

Adopt! By adopting, you can help reduce the strain on shelters who may be overwhelmed with incoming animals. You will also be providing a loving home for a very deserving animal, and be gaining a new best friend!

Help animals in need


COVID-19 News Release

Emergency Checklist (PDF)

View adoptable animals

BC Pet Registry

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