animal welfare
veterinary social work


In the face of a global pandemic, domesticated and companion animals are relegated to the most vulnerable stratification of society. Companion animals (pets) have been established as family members in a wide breath of cultures globally; thereby ensuring reliance on humans for maintaining care and wellbeing. Furthermore, those on social media are sharing animal stories, photos, memes, and videos as a mechanism of distraction, enjoyment, and humor. Animals are becoming the force to bring humanity together through crisis, and yet, they require human care and compassion. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was confronted with three pertinent questions: 1. How do individuals provide physical and emotional care and enrichment for pets during a pandemic? 2. Are there zoonotic concerns in caring for a pet? 3. What are the mid- and long-term repercussions of the pandemic for pet care? To address these questions, this paper identifies avenues of support, and challenges that can be addressed in the midst of the pandemic to advance and ensure companion animal welfare. This is the moment we collectively challenge the notion of companion animals as family members and the importance of these very animals in our lives.


Anderson, M. E. C., J. W. Stull and J. S. Weese. 2019. "Impact of Dog Transport on High-Risk Infectious Diseases." Veterinary Clinics of North America-Small Animal Practice 49(4):615-+. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2019.02.004.

AVMA. 2020, "Covid-19: What Veterinarians Need to Know": AVMA. Retrieved Mar 30, 2020 (

Baratay E., Hardouin-Fugier E. 2004. Zoo: A History of Zoological Gardens in the West. Reaktion Books.

Bartges, Joe, Beth Boynton, Amy Hoyumpa Vogt, Eliza Krauter, Ken Lambrecht, Ron Svec, and Steve Thompson. 2012. "AAHA canine life stage guidelines." Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 48(1):1-11.

BBC 2020. "Coronavirus: Zoo animals 'under threat' from panic buying" Retrieved on March 26, 2020 (

Bibbo, Jessica, Angela L. Curl, and Rebecca A. Johnson 2019. "Pets in the Lives of Older Adults: A life course perspective". Anthrozoos. 32(4):541-554.

Bishop, G., K. Cooney, S. Cox, R. Downing, K. Mitchener, A. Shanan, N. Soares, B. Stevens and T. Wynn. 2016. "2016 Aaha/Iaahpc End-of-Life Care Guidelines." Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association. 52(6):341-56. doi: 10.5326/Jaaha-Ms-6637.

Brooks, Helen Louise, Kelly Rushton, Karina Lovell, Penny Bee, Lauren Walker, Laura Grant, and Anne Rogers 2018. "The power of support from companion animals for people living with mental health problems: a systematic review and narrative synthesis of the evidence". BMC Psychiatry.18:31 DOI 10.1186/s12888-018-1613-2

CBS News 2020. "Penguine in the Chicago Shedd Aquarium, Closed of Corona Virus fears". Retrieved on March 26,2020 (

Center for Disease Control 2020. "Daily Life & Coping". Retrieved on March 30, 2020. (

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). If you have animals. Retrieved on March 30, 2020 (

Chadwin, Robin. 2017. Evacuation of Pets During Disasters: A Public Health Intervention to Increase Resilience. American Journal of Public Health. 107:1413–1417. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303877)

Chandler, Cynthis 2019. "Eight Domains of Pet-Owner Wellness: Implications for counselors and counselor training". In Clinician's guide to treating companion animal issues: Addressing human-animal interaction. Kogan, Lori, (Ed); Blazina, Christopher, (Ed); pp. 103-114; San Diego, CA, US: Elsevier Academic Press.

Cleary, Michelle, Denis Visentin, Deependra Kaji Thapa, Sancia West, Toby Raeburn, and Rachel Kornhaber 2019. "The Homeless and Their Animal Companions: An Integrative Review. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research". Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. 47:47–59

CNN 2020. "A service dog in training brings comfort to ER doctors on the frontlines" Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (

Co-Sheltering Collabortive 2020. "COVID-19 Guidelines for Co-Sheltering Environments" Retrieved on March 31, 2020. (

Daily Mail 2020. "Cops confront man using a TOY dog on a leash to try and cheat Spain’s state of emergency quarantine laws that allows pet owners outside to walk their animals" Retrieved on March 26th, 2020 (

Dickinson, George E., Paul D. Roof, and Karin W. Roof. 2011. "A Survey of Veterinarians in the Us: Euthanasia and Other End-of-Life Issues." Anthrozoos 24(2):167-74. doi: 10.2752/175303711x12998632257666.

Dog Population Management. 2011. FAO/WSPA/IZSAM expert meeting, Banna, Italy 14-19 March 2011.

Donaldson, Sue, and Will Kymlicka. 2011. Zoopolis: A political theory of animal rights. Oxford University Press.

FAWC. 2009, "Farm Animal Welfare Council - 5 Freedoms". Retrieved on March 26, 2020. (

Federal Emergency Management Agency 2019. "Pet Preparedness Checklist". Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (

Forbes 2020. "Animals Roam Freely In Italian Cities With Humans In Lockdown" Retrieved on March 26th, 2020 (

Ford, Richard B., Laurie J. Larson, Kent D. McClure, Ronald D. Schultz, and Link V. Welborn. 2017. "2017 AAHA canine vaccination guidelines." Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 53(5): 243-251. doi: Doi 10.5326/Jaaha-Ms-6741.

Gorczyca, Kenneth, Aubrey H Fine and C Victor Spain. 2006. "History, Theory, and Development of Human-Animal Support Services for People with Aids and Other Chronic Terminal Illnesses." Pp. 253-302 in Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy: Elsevier.

Goumenou, Marina, Demetrios A Spandidos and Aristidis Tsatsakis. 2020. "Possibility of Transmission through Dogs Being a Contributing Factor to the Extreme Covid‑19 Outbreak in North Italy." Molecular Medicine Reports. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2020.11037.

Grant, S. and C. W. Olsen. 1999. "Preventing Zoonotic Diseases in Immunocompromised Persons: The Role of Physicians and Veterinarians." Emerging Infectious Diseases 5(1):159-63. doi: DOI 10.3201/eid0501.990121.

Greenbaum, S. D. 2006. "Introduction to working with Animal Assisted Crisis Response animal handler teams." International Journal Of Emergency Mental Health 8(1): 49-63.

Han, Mei Mei, and Gonzalo Tapia Rico. 2019. "The "Pet Effect" in Cancer Patients: Risks and Benefits of Human-Pet Interaction." Critical Reviews in Oncology Hematology 143:56-61. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2019.08.004.

Humane Society 2020. "Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ". Retrieved on March 31, 2020. (

Idexx. 2020, "Idexx Sars-Cov-2 (Covid-19) Realpcr Test". Retrieved Mar 30, 2020 (

Independent 2020. "More dogs in shelters will be euthanized during coronavirus outbreak, warns animal rights group" Retrieved on March 26th, 2020 (

International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care 2020. "COVID-19 Practice Guidelienes". Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (

Jones, Melanie G., Simon M. Rice, and Susan M. Cotton 2019 Incorporating animal-assisted therapy in mental health treatments for adolescents: A systematic review of canine assisted psychotherapy. PLoS ONE 14(1):e0210761.

Localsyr 2020. "Animal shelters, rescues see increase in adoption and foster applications amid COVID-19 pandemic". Retrieved on March 30, 2020 (

Lowrey, Sarah 2020. "Helping your dog survive during a quarantine". Retrieved March 20, 2020 (

Maddie’s Fund 2020. "COVID-19 and Emergency Foster Care Resources" Retrieved on March 31, 2020. (

McMarlin, Shirley 2020. "Verterinarians, pet owners forced to adjust during COVID-19 outbreak". Retrieved on March 31, 2020. ( )

Metro 2020. "Coronavirus UK lockdown: Can you walk your dog or your neighbours’ dog for them?" Retrieved on March 26th, 2020. (

Millán-Oñate, José, Alfonso J Rodriguez-Morales, German Camacho-Moreno, Henry Mendoza-Ramírez, Iván Arturo Rodríguez-Sabogal and Carlos Álvarez-Moreno. 2020. "A New Emerging Zoonotic Virus of Concern: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)." Infectio 24(3).

Mondelli F., Prato-Previde E., Verga M., Levi D., Magistrelli S., Valsecchi P. 2004. "The Bond That Never Developed: Adoption and Relinquishment of Dogs in a Rescue Shelter". Journal Of Applied Animal Welfare Science 7:253-66. 10.1207/s15327604jaws0704_3.

My Dog is My Home. 2020. "Co-Sheltering". Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (

National Geographic 2020. "Fake animal news abounds on social media as coronavirus upends life" Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (

NY Post 2020. "Chinese resident on coronavirus lockdown ‘walks’ dog from balcony with leash" Retrieved March 26, 2020 (

NY Times 2020. "Stuck at Home, Americans Turn to Foster Pets for Companionship" Retrieved on March 26, 2020 (

Oliver, Laura 2020. "It could take three years for the US economy to recover from COVID-19". World Economic Forum March 30, 2020. (

Otranto, D., F. Dantas-Torres, A. D. Mihalca, R. J. Traub, M. Lappin and G. Baneth. 2017. "Zoonotic Parasites of Sheltered and Stray Dogs in the Era of the Global Economic and Political Crisis." Trends in Parasitology 33(10):813-25. doi: 10.1016/

Podlaskie 2020. Dzikie zwierzęta wychodzą do miast. Zastąpiły ludzi." Retrieved March 26, 2020

Prenger K. 2018. "War Zone Zoo: The Berlin Zoo and World War 2". Independently published.

Psychology Today 2020. "COVID-19 and Planning for Your Pet". Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (

Roca, R. Y. and R. J. McCarthy. 2019. "Impact of Telemedicine on the Traditional Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship." Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 37. doi: UNSP 100359

Scherk, Margie A., Richard B. Ford, Rosalind M. Gaskell, Katrin Hartmann, Kate F. Hurley, Michael R. Lappin, Julie K. Levy, Susan E. Little, Shila K. Nordone, and Andrew H. Sparkes. 2013. "2013 Aafp Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel Report." Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 15(9):785-808. doi: 10.1177/1098612X13500429.

Sentient 2020. "Other Animals Are Not Humans’ Sacrificial Fall Guys". Retrieved on March 31, 2020. (

Specktor, Brandon 2020. "What is flattening the curve and will it work? Live Science". Retrieved on March 26, 2020 (

The Local 2020. "How dogs have become hot property during Spain's coronavirus lockdow" Retrieved on March 26, 2020. (

Tilocca, Bruno, Alessio Soggiu, Vincenzo Musella, Domenico Britti, Maurizio Sanguinetti, Andrea Urbani, and Paola Roncada. 2020. "Molecular basis of COVID-19 relationships in different species: a one health perspective". Microbes Infect. 2020 Mar 17. pii: S1286-4579(20)30048-4. doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2020.03.002.

Today 2020. Tonka the therapy dog brings joy to nursing home during coronavirus quarantine". Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (

TurnTo23 3030. "Video Of A Drone ‘walking’ A Dog During The Coronavirus Lockdown Goes Viral" Retrieved on March 26, 2020 (

Underwood, Wendy and Raymond Anthony. 2013. "AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition". Retrieved on March 30, 2020 (

Vice 2020. "People in Sydney Are Asking Vets to Euthanise Their Dogs So They Don't Get Coronavirus" Retrieved on March 26th, 2020 (

Vogt, Amy Hoyumpa, Ilona Rodan, Marcus Brown, Scott Brown, CA Tony Buffington, MJ LaRue Forman, Jacqui Neilson, and Andrew Sparkes. 2010. "Feline Life Stage Guidelines." Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 12(1):43-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jfms.2009.12.006.

Wood, L., Martin, K., Christian, H., Nathan, A., Lauritsen, C., Houghton, S., Kawachi, I. and McCune, S., 2015. The pet factor-companion animals as a conduit for getting to know people, friendship formation and social support. PloS one, 10(4)

World Health Organization 2020. "Rolling updates on coronavirus disease" Retrieved n March 31, 2020 (

Wright, Jennifer G., Sherry Jung, Robert C. Holman, Nina N. Marano, and Jennifer H. McQuiston. 2008. "Infection Control Practices and Zoonotic Disease Risks among Veterinarians in the United States." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 232(12):1863-72. doi: DOI 10.2460/javma.232.12.1863.

YouTube 2016. "Funny Parrot (When u are alone at home)" Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (

Zeitlin, Matthew. 2020. "Hurricane Katrina inspired a national pet evacuation policy. The plan could save human lives, too." Retrieved on March 31, 2020 (