COVID-19 Emergency Pet Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging to many, including our furry friends. We have all changed how we are living our day-to-day lives but have you made plans for your animals in case you find yourself needing to make emergency plans to care for your animals. 


To help pet owners to prepare for the well-being of their animals if they are hospitalized or medically quarantined due to COVID-19, a group of key animal welfare organizations in Cook County have established protocol to support animals in need as their owners are recovering from the virus.

“Providing owners who are stricken with COVID-19 with a place to safely house their animals while they recover is vital,” says David Dinger, Vice President of Operations at The Anti-Cruelty Society. “We strongly urge people to have an emergency plan to care for their animals in the event they have to be hospitalized. We have had several people who did not make plans before being hospitalized and their animals were left without someone to care for them.  Fortunately, we were able to get to the animals in time to assist, but it is extremely difficult to get access to care for animals after someone is hospitalized.”

Pet owners are strongly urged to prepare the following for emergency animal care:

  1. The best option for your pet is for it to remain in your home. Identify caregivers for your pet if you become ill. Your pet is safest at home with you (even in quarantine). If you are not at home, make sure you provide your pet caregiver with access to your home to take care of your animals. 
  2. Make sure you have a 2-3 weeks supply of essential supplies at all times, including food, litter, and medications for your animals. Gathering these items before it is needed will make care easier for whomever is taking care of the animal if you are hospitalized.
  3. Create an emergency kit, including providing caregivers and relatives with necessary contact information for veterinarians, a supply of food, pet care supplies, and medications, a list of necessary medicines along with when they should be taken, as well as vaccination records and any other helpful notes about your pet to help your caregiver take care of your pet.

For any Chicago-area person who needs someone to care for their animal, Cook County, Chicago Animal Care and Control, South Suburban Humane Society, and The Anti-Cruelty Society have cleared their shelters to make room for animals in need. Animals from the city of Chicago will go to Chicago Animal Care and Control, while suburban animals will be housed at the South Suburban Humane Society. The Anti-Cruelty Society will serve as backup for both facilities. In total, the countywide plan has the capacity to manage hundreds of animals in need. 

People requiring emergency shelter assistance for their animals during the COVID-19 pandemic should do the following: 

  • For people who live in Chicago, call 311 and ask for Animal Care and Control
  • For people who live in Cook County but outside the city limits, call 708-974-6140. 

Field agents from CACC or Cook County will transport pets to safe housing until the owners are released from the hospital at which time animals will be reunited. 

Remember, make a plan to ensure your animals are cared for. It will be good for you and them!