COVID-19: Guidance on pets and long-term care homes

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Overview

Pets can provide many benefits, especially during times of stress. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, special consideration should be given to animals that reside in or visit long-term care homes (LTCHs), where COVID-19 may transmit more easily and people are at risk of more severe disease.

Basic best practices for animals in healthcare facilities should be followed, as applicable to LTCHs. Additionally, residents, staff, designated caregivers, and visitors should follow any guidance provided by the LTCH for managing pets in the facility, if available, and also refer to their provincial/territorial and local public health policies and regulations.

The following additional measures aim to include pets in the management of the risks for spreading COVID-19.

Pets living in a long-term care home

It is highly recommended to have a written plan in place for any animals in the care of the LTCH itself, such as:

Additionally, if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at the LTCH:

Pets visiting a long-term care home

A clear policy regarding animal visitation should be in place, consistent with protocols for healthcare facility visitation. The types of animal visits should be individually addressed (for example, personal pets versus animal assisted [pet therapy] programs). If people are allowed to visit a facility, pets belonging to the same individuals may be considered as well, depending on the facility's animal visitation program.

Animal visits should not be permitted if there is an ongoing outbreak at the facility.

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