By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
As the coronavirus crisis grows, don’t forget to plan and prepare for the needs of your pets as you do for your own.
Jamie Grant, director of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Animal Shelter, has plenty of advice that you should be following today to get ahead of any shortages.
“As the owner of multiple pets myself, I know that during these uncertain times we must still be able to continue giving our pets the best care we can while keeping ourselves safe,” said Grant.
The first thing to do is to make sure you keep in contact with your pet’s veterinarian.
“As far as I am aware, most of the area veterinarians are still open for medical needs but are asking clients to call ahead, make appointments and that people can sit in the car while the pet is being seen,” Grant said.
“Call your vet to find out their working policies right now. I do recommend speaking to your vet about stocking up for at least a month if your pet is on daily medication. This will prevent them from running out and from you having to go out in public more than necessary.”
If your pet’s preferred food is out of stock, Grant recommends looking online to find as similar a brand as possible to keep your pet’s diet consistent.
“Changing your pet’s diet abruptly can cause stomach upset so sticking as close as you can to their regular diet is best if you can,” Grant said. “Also, remember to check local livestock, veterinarians and animal supply stores that you might not typically buy from as they may be better stocked than the big box stores.”
If you have a cat, shredded paper can be used as a temporary substitute if you need to delay getting litter.
Remember to abide by leash laws for dogs to reduce the chances for fights and bites.
The shelter is not currently open to the public as a result of an order by the Cleveland Board of Aldermen that is restricting access to various municipal buildings as a result of the coronavirus.
The shelter is still operational, and workers are available by phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Grant said the shelter is not currently taking in owner surrenders unless necessary for the safety of the animal.
“We are a small staff of seven, so keeping us all healthy and able to care for the animals is so important, as is your health as well.
“We know this is a very stressful time but animals being there to help us through it is a comfort. We ask that all citizens do their best to follow the social distancing guidelines set forth and call us if they are in need of assistance or advice.”