Pets and COVID-19: Information for Pet Parents

 

Our commitment:

To help you and your pet stay safe and healthy during COVID-19.

 
 
Ron Coughlin and Yummy

A note from Petco's CEO, Ron Coughlin:

We know Coronavirus/COVID-19 is a concerning topic for people everywhere, including pet parents. As your partner in caring for the overall health and wellness of your pets, we want to ensure you have the information you need to care for your entire family – fur, fins and scales, alike. We've tapped into our Petco Pet Wellness Council, an independent coalition of leading experts in animal health and veterinary science, to provide perspective on the most important things you need to know. We're here for you and your pets. Always. We'll continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Ron Coughlin Signature

Ron Coughlin, CEO

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

This is a rapidly evolving situation. This section was last updated on June 1, 2020.

General information about Coronavirus/COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the nation's health protection agency, defines Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 tend to experience mild to severe respiratory illness that can include fever, cough or shortness of breath. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should see their healthcare providers as early as possible for examination.

The CDC says the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. As the disease continues to spread, the CDC recommends following routine preventive measures that can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus and flu, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Put distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, especially if you are at higher risk of getting very sick.

  • Stay home if you are sick and maintain appropriate social distance when and wherever possible.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.

According to the CDC, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with shipped or imported or goods. There have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods. Petco is following CDC guidance. As news and information around COVID-19 continues to evolve, we're closely monitoring the situation and continuing to take proactive, precautionary steps to protect pets, pet parents and our own Petco partners.

Pets and Coronavirus/COVID-19

According to the CDC, there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Public health experts are still learning about the virus, but it appears it can spread from people to animals in some situations. The CDC is aware of a zoo tiger testing positive for COVID-19, as well as a small number of pets in the United States – mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.

The CDC recommends pet parents protect their pets the same way they protect human family members.

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.

  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.

  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least six feet (two meters) from other people and animals.

  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

  • Restrict contact with pets and other animals if you're sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test).

  • Wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after interacting with your pet, if you must care for it while sick.

  • Wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after interacting with your pet, if you must care for it while sick.

The CDC does not recommend routine testing for animals, and under no circumstances should pet parents take measures that may compromise their pets' welfare.

If you're sick with COVID-19 and your pet also becomes sick, call your veterinarian. If your pet tests positive for COVID-19, keep the pet in isolation in the home – away from everyone else, including other pets – until a veterinarian or public health official determines they can be around other pets and people.

Since animals can spread other diseases to people, the CDC always recommends washing your hands after being around animals. For more information, read the CDC's FAQ on COVID-19 and animals. You can also learn more about staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, by visiting the CDC's Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.

Ferrets are known to be at risk for catching certain coronaviruses, and some other viruses that can make people sick. Currently, there are no known cases of ferrets becoming sick or showing positive for COVID-19.

Pet parents should always include pets in their family's emergency preparedness planning and ensure they have enough food and product to care for pets as a general precaution for disaster preparedness.

Petco and Coronavirus/COVID-19

As news and information around Coronavirus/COVID-19 continues to evolve, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking proactive, precautionary steps to protect our partners, guests, the pets in our care and our overall business as it progresses.

The health and safety of pets and their families is always our top priority and we are following and reinforcing all guidance and resources available from the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are some specific steps we are taking:

  • We're encouraging all Petco partners to follow appropriate preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including staying home if they are feeling ill or believe they may be at risk, and maintaining appropriate social distance when and wherever possible.

  • We fully support all Petco partners who choose to stay home from work for any reason related to COVID-19.

  • In addition to our Petco partners' established sick time and paid time off, we're providing five days of paid leave specifically designed to further support those directly affected by COVID-19 – whether by a confirmed case, required or voluntary self-quarantine due to being high-risk, living with or caring for someone at high-risk, or because they feel ill or face related dependent care challenges.

  • To provide ongoing support to our Petco partners as they face the effects of COVID-19 – and in future times of need – we've launched the Petco Partner Assistance Fund, with $2 million from Petco & more from our sponsors at CVC Capital Partners, our board of directors, our Petco Pet Wellness Council, and our leadership team, including our CEO, Ron Coughlin. All donations will directly support Petco partners in need.

  • On May 1, we awarded $3.6 million in special bonuses to our Petco partners in recognition of the courageous way they are serving pets and their families in these uncertain times.

  • All Petco stores are cleaned and sanitized daily as part of our normal business operations. In light of COVID-19, we're increasing the frequency and extent of those cleanings and taking proactive steps to ensure all Petco locations (including stores and our distribution and support centers) have ample hygiene and sanitation supplies available.

  • Out of an abundance of caution, we’re making disposable gloves and masks available to all Petco partners, and requiring that all partners wear masks while working in our stores. Additionally, we have installed plexiglass barriers in Petco stores located in areas that are highly impacted by COVID-19, and are in the process of making this safety feature available in stores nationwide.

  • Each Petco store has several hand sanitizer dispenser stations in place at varying locations throughout the store, and we've instructed our store teams to ensure hand sanitizer is also available at all checkout locations, grooming salons and other high traffic areas of the store.

  • Using in-store signage, we're encouraging customers to help us keep our communities safe by maintaining at least six feet of distance from others, limiting the number of people per shopping trips when possible, and other recommended precautions.

  • In addition to our physical store locations, we're ready to serve pet parents online through Petco.com and the Petco app, with Repeat Delivery; curbside pickup; same-day delivery and buy online, pickup in store options. In addition, we're reducing our threshold for free shipping on online orders.

  • We're prioritizing providing essential products and services for pets and their families. As a result, we have stopped shipments non-essential items like pet toys and apparel.

  • We're restricting travel across the company, including vendor travel and visits to Petco locations, and cancelling attendance at large meetings and gatherings.

  • In our support centers (corporate offices) we're directing our partners to work from home if they can.

To provide ongoing support to our more than 27,000 partners as they face the effects of COVID-19 – and in future times of need – we've launched the Petco Partner Assistance Fund. This employee relief fund received an initial $2 million investment from Petco, plus additional donations from the company's private equity sponsors at CVC Capital Partners, the Petco Pet Wellness Council – an independent coalition of leading experts in veterinary science and animal care – and personal donations from every member of Petco's Board of Directors and executive leadership team, including our CEO Ron Coughlin.

The Petco Partner Assistance Fund will be administered by E4E Relief and is open for donations today. All donations will directly support Petco partners in need. Petco partners can apply for support as of March 22, 2020. This new fund is in addition to other measures we've taken to support our partners as we navigate COVID-19, including temporarily waiving our standard attendance policy and introducing a new paid “COVID leave” policy for those directly impacted by COVID-19. For more information on the Petco Partner Assistance Fund or to make a donation, visit petco.e4e.org.

In addition to increasing the frequency and extent of daily store cleanings, we're continuing to provide the pets in our stores with appropriate care and habitat maintenance. As part of our industry-leading animal care standards, we have plans in place to protect and care for the pets in our stores in the event of emergencies or store closures, and the current COVID-19 situation is no exception. If any store needs to close, we will follow our emergency animal care protocol, including transferring animals to alternative safe locations if necessary.

The Petco Foundation is working with local animal welfare organizations to ensure each of their adoptable pets currently housed at Petco stores are being cared for appropriately.

We’re doing everything we can to take care of pets, pet parents, our own Petco partners and the broader communities we serve. Rest assured, we’re open and continuing to provide essential products and services for pets counting on us in these uncertain times.

In Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Travis County in Texas and St. Louis County in Missouri, pet parents at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, including seniors, are welcome to purchase their pets’ essentials 8 – 9 a.m., each Tuesday, before our Petco stores open to the general public. In Michigan, this special service is being offered 8 – 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We’re evaluating the implementation of this accommodation in other communities, as necessary.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and our team is working non-stop to meet the needs of pet parents. In addition to our physical store locations, we're also ready to serve you in any of the following ways.

  • Through petco.com and the Petco app – with Repeat Delivery; curbside pickup; same-day delivery and buy online, pickup in store options available at most Petco stores.

  • By phone – call 833-893-0111 to place orders, and have pet food and other essentials delivered to your home.

  • Curbside pickup – the majority of our Petco locations now offer curbside pickup to provide pet parents who are self-isolating with peace of mind knowing their pets' essentials can be brought directly to their car.

We're proud to be the grocery store, pharmacy and doctor's office for many four-legged loved ones. We're open and continuing to serve the needs of pets and their families – including our in-store veterinary care and grooming services – but we've taken the following proactive, precautionary steps to protect everyone in the broader Petco family.

  • To allow for appropriate social distancing, our in-home dog training, and in-store puppy play time, self-wash and group dog training services are temporarily unavailable. If you're currently enrolled in a group dog training class, your dog trainer will contact you to explore rescheduling options. Pet parents are encouraged to continue reinforcing positive dog behaviors at home by following these tips from Petco's dog training experts.

  • In an effort to properly manage social gatherings in our stores and adhere to city mandates, new registrations for dog training classes are temporarily unavailable.

  • Petco in-store veterinary hospitals are continuing to provide full services including urgent care, vaccinations, microchipping, testing and other vital health services for pets. In addition to frequent cleaning and sanitizing throughout the hospitals, we're offering new services like pet exchange, drop-off and text notifications at select locations to help minimize personal contact. Ask about these options when you book an appointment. Check your location's updated hours of operation here.

  • Vetco vaccination clinics are currently operating in select locations. In an effort to properly manage social gatherings, patients will be welcomed by appointment only. Find a location near you to book your pet's appointment. Pet parents are being asked to conduct check-ins from their car via phone, to receive instructions on when to enter the clinic and where to wait. All waiting locations provide six feet of distance from the area where veterinary services are performed. Only the pet receiving services and one pet parent are being received per appointment – additional family members should remain home to help keep everyone safe. Rest assured, all Vetco vaccination clinic staff is being directed to wear face coverings and gloves, and constantly wash and sanitize their hands during shifts. Tables and tablets are also being routinely cleaned in all operating clinics./p>

  • To do our part in protecting the communities we serve as COVID-19 continues to spread, some Petco grooming locations are closed as recommended by local authorities, and we're empowering all Petco groomers to hold off on performing services and assist pet parents on the store floor if they feel more comfortable. Additionally, we're prioritizing providing essential products and services for pets and their families. As a result, certain pet grooming offerings are temporarily unavailable. Please contact your local Petco grooming location to confirm availability.

  • To help groomers maintain a safe distance from each other, we've restructured our Petco grooming schedules. Appointment double-bookings are temporarily unavailable to allow pet parents to keep six feet of distance from others at check-in. We're also holding 15 to 20-minute windows in between each grooming appointment to properly clean and disinfect the work area before welcoming the next pet. Pet parents are being asked to maintain a safe distance between themselves and others by waiting outside of the salon if another pet is being checked in and, when possible, we're scheduling pick-up times to limit the number of pet parents waiting for their newly-groomed dogs.

  • In Puerto Rico, all services are temporarily unavailable and pet parents are being helped at the door. Please contact your local Petco if you have questions about a previously scheduled grooming or dog training appointment in the area.

To help us ensure Petco remained a safe place for everyone, in-store product returns were temporarily unavailable April 13 – May 31 due to COVID-19. As of June 1, 2020, we are resuming in-store product returns and honoring the original return period on your receipt without penalties related to the temporary suspension. For your convenience and safety, you can also return products purchased online back to our fulfillment centers following the instructions on petco.com/returns.

As your partner in caring for the overall health and wellness of your pet, we're here for you – always. Due to a higher-than-normal volume of phone calls to our customer service line, hold times may be longer than usual. If you prefer, you can chat live with agents right here at petco.com.

In an effort to reduce social gatherings and help slow the spread of COVID-19, we're discontinuing adoption events at Petco stores. The Petco Foundation is working closely with our animal welfare partners to encourage and support pet adoption and foster care approaches that limit human interaction. Pets currently in store adoption habitats will remain cared for and available for adoption.

As animal shelters brace for the long-term economic impacts of COVID-19, the Petco Foundation activated the Pledge to Save Pet Lives by distributing $1 million in product and cash donations, and putting out a national call to implore animal lovers to take action to help save animal lives. This was distributed as a matching grant to double donations and help increase the ability of local shelters to help pet parents in need. This commitment follows the Petco Foundation’s recent distribution of more than $13 million to animal welfare organizations nationwide, including a donation along with Blue Buffalo and Royal Canin to regional food banks operated by the ASPCA to assist pet parents in need.

The Petco Foundation is in close communication with organizations across the nation to support emerging needs. They’re also working closely with the animal shelter coronavirus collaborative group, which supports some of the largest shelters in the country by sharing information and bringing experts together to develop resources and recommendations. This includes a national effort to promote pet fostering to save lives.

COVID-19 is a real human health crisis. But it doesn't need to be a crisis for our animals, too. Animal shelters across the nation need our help as they're experiencing staffing shortages and a slowdown in adoptions. In some cases, they're even facing an influx of animals coming through their doors or shutdowns altogether. All it takes is a few of us stepping up to adopt or temporarily foster a pet in need through this crisis. Welcoming a shelter pet into your home can save a life. Find a local animal welfare organization near you: petcofoundation.org/shelter.

If you can't foster or adopt but want to help, make a donation to support shelters across the nation.