SPCA New Zealand

SPCA’s advice to pet owners caught up in Covid-19 Delta outbreak

24 August 2021
SPCA’s advice to pet owners caught up in Covid-19 Delta outbreak

As the Delta outbreak continues to grow, SPCA is encouraging all pet owners to be prepared and have a plan in place to care for their animals should they need to self-isolate at home or leave their property to enter a managed quarantine facility.

This includes, where possible, finding someone who is willing to look after their pets until they’re able to return home.

SPCA General Manager Operations, Sam Powell, says while pet owners who test positive for the virus will be given help to make arrangements before they’re taken into a quarantine facility, it is important to have ready all the information and supplies needed for someone to care for your companion animal.

“It can no doubt be an unsettling time for those who receive a positive Covid-19 test and are told they need to move into MIQ, let alone for pet owners who need to leave their animals behind,” says Ms Powell. “Making sure everything is in order to allow your pet to be cared for in your absence ahead of time is one less thing to stress about should you test positive.”

Infectious disease experts indicate there is no evidence that pets can spread Covid-19 to humans, or that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection. However, it’s good practice to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals. According to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), people sick with Covid-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals, as they would with people. Where there is Covid-19 in a household, MPI recommends animals are not moved off the property.

Should an owner test positive for Covid-19 and need to move into a MIQ facility, they should run through their plan for their pets with health officials, who will be able to work with them to ensure any arrangements are made safely.

“Having a plan ready to go means health officials will be able to work quickly to make sure your pets are well looked after in your absence,” says Ms Powell.

While each case will be handled individually, SPCA recommends that pets remain at home if possible or with a trusted person.

“Staying in a home environment is the best thing for the animal’s welfare and moving them to a place which is unfamiliar is the last resort,” says Ms Powell. “Pets will be much happier if they can remain in the comfort of their home or with a person known to them, through contactless drop-off.”

It’s also a good time for owners with pets that require medication to make sure they have enough in supply, and dosage and administering instructions are clearly documented. Owners should also ensure they have enough pet food, that their microchip details are up to date, and their veterinarian’s contact details are available.

With thousands of close contacts already identified and the number continuing to grow each day, SPCA also has advice for pet owners who find themselves unable to walk their dogs because they’re self-isolating at home.

“Owners with a private outdoor space inside their property can continue to exercise their dogs safely outside with a game of fetch,” says SPCA Scientific Officer Dr Alison Vaughan. “For pet owners who don’t have access to an outdoor area, such as those living in apartments, they can keep their pets entertained with food puzzles, hide and seek, or a simple game of tug-of-war. These are all ways to make sure your pet is getting the mental and physical exercise they need at a time where they can’t do their usual exercise.”

More information

Further information about caring for pets and livestock during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the Ministry for Primary Industries website:

For more information and ideas about how to entertain your pets, check out our website:

SPCA also has lots of fun activities to keep kids entertained during lockdown:

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