What happens to your pet if you’re hospitalized?

Sleepy dog on blanket

It can happen to anyone: An accident, an illness, an unexpected diagnosis – not to mention COVID-19. What would happen to your cat or dog if you had to spend a week, two weeks, or longer in the hospital?

For some, there may be an easy answer: A partner, relative, or friend who is willing to look after your pet.

But for many, it’s not so simple. Many people don’t have someone who is willing to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet while they are hospitalized.

Pets and COVID-19

As the pandemic began to spread across the United States, there was a lot of confusion about what to do with pets. Could cats and dogs get the coronavirus? Could they spread it? If so, how?

As it turns out, cats and dogs have a very low chance of getting or transmitting the coronavirus. And as we learn more about the spread of the virus through the air, the likelihood of transmission by contact with a cat or dog is even lower.

Trained dog on leash

In fact, some animals have proven to be an incredible tool in preventing the spread of the pandemic. In Helsinki, dogs are being deployed who can detect the presence of COVID-19 with nearly 100% accuracy. That’s amazing!

If anything, pets have provided vital companionship in the lonely days of quarantine and isolation. And if you still have questions, the ASPCA has a great FAQ about pets and COVID-19

But the question remains: What if you end up in the hospital and can’t take care of your pet?

Plan Ahead

It’s always a good idea to think about what will happen to your pet if the unexpected happens. The Humane Society has some great tips for planning ahead, in case you are hospitalized or unable to care for your pet:

  • Identify a friend or family member who will agree (ahead of time) to take your pet in case you are hospitalized. Maybe you could even make a deal with one of your pet owning friends: You take mine, and I’ll take yours!
  • Have a crate and other supplies on hand in case you have to move the pet unexpectedly. Even if your pet doesn’t usually use a crate, it can be helpful for transportation and adjusting to a new environment.
  • Check and make sure you have your pet’s vaccination records readily available
  • Make a list of any medications and basic flea/tick prevention – and the correct dosages.
  • And, of course, make sure your pet has proper identification, including a collar, name tag, rabies tag, and microchip.

Crisis Fostering

Puppy sleeping in arms

Even with planning, some pet owners will not be able to find arrangements in the event of a crisis. That’s where Pawster Nashville comes in.

Pawster Nashville offers a simple solution for pet owners who find themselves hospitalized: Crisis fostering. While you’re in the hospital, we will place your cat or dog in a loving foster home until you are back on you feet and ready to be reunited. And the best part? Your pet receives a complimentary grooming session before being returned to you.

Crisis fostering ensures your pet is well cared for while you’re in the hospital, and it keeps you from making the difficult choice to surrender or re-home your pet. When you’re in a crisis, you have enough to stress about. Caring for your pet shouldn’t be one of them.

How You Can Help

Woman with Dog on Floor

You can become a Pawster Foster.

Sign up in 15 minutes or less at pawsternashville.org/foster. You can become a foster home for a furry friend at no cost to you. Pawster Nashville provides every foster home a Pawster Foster Starter Kit with all the essential supplies you need to care for your foster dog or foster cat.

Dog sticking head out car window

You can volunteer as a Pet Connector or Pet Chauffeur.

Pet Connectors help coordinate foster stays and support foster homes. Pet Chauffeurs transport pets to and from foster homes, vet appointments, groomers, and back to their owners. We are also looking for volunteers with skills in social media, marketing, and any other aspect of running a nonprofit!

Dog with stuffed toy on floor

You can give to Pawster Nashville.

Become a Pawster Provider today. Even a small gift will help keep one more pet from becoming homeless when their owner is in crisis.

Not ready for any of those commitments? That’s okay.

Sign up to stay in touch with us and learn more about how Pawster Nashville helps pets and owners stay together through crisis.

In the meantime, you can share this post with 5 friends and tell them why you think they might want to become a part of the Pawster Nashville family: