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A month ago, a reader emailed me about the coronavirus and asked me to write a blog post about what pet parents should do in preparation for a pandemic. I will be honest and say that I thought this person was worrying for no reason. I was wrong.
When reports of the coronavirus began in earnest a few weeks ago, we weren't taking it seriously because there were no reports of illness in the States and it seemed like the news was blowing it out of proportion. I repeatedly said that they were keeping it vague to keep us coming back – it was all for ratings and traffic. I was wrong. I guess they were being vague because they didn't know what was going on either.
Now, a few weeks later, I'm working from home, something that I never thought our company would allow, and I'm feeling stir crazy because we can't go anywhere. Well, we can, but our activities include going to the grocery store, which is pretty empty. No movie theaters, no restaurants, no shopping – we don't do anything that would bring us into close contact with others. People say what we're blowing it out of proportion, but…are we?
Coronavirus in Washington…So Far
According to Kiro 7, a local news station, this is where we're at in Washington State:
“Public Health – Seattle & King County announced three new deaths Monday morning, bringing the statewide total to 22. The three new deaths were all Life Care Center residents. The county also announced 33 new cases, bringing the King County total to 116. The number of confirmed cases, reported by the Washington State Department of Health on Monday afternoon, is at least 162.“Kiro 7 News
There have been 22 deaths so far and it's expected that until the spread of the coronavirus can be contained, deaths will continue with the most vulnerable groups being the elderly and immunocompromised. And with what's happening today, I can no longer take this lightly. So, what does this have to do with raw feeders?
Preparing for a Pandemic
This is my first pandemic. Over the years, I've gotten the flu shot (yeah, not interested in warnings about the flu shot – keep it moving) because I work in an industry (the day job) where I come into contact with seniors and since they are most at risk during flu season, I get the flu shot each year. I thought COVID-19 (coronavirus) was just another version of the flu, so, at first, I didn't do anything. And then people started buying toilet paper like it was lined in Benjamins and water like it was laced in gold. And, I'll admit, that I started to want to buy stuff too because I can be such a sheeple sometimes. But I refrained from racing to Costco and just followed the news.
When it became apparent that COVID-19 was going to be an issue in Washington state, I stocked up on just a few things:
- toilet paper to make sure we have plenty on hand – I hate running out
- paper towels
- laundry detergent
- garbage bags
- AA batteries – if we're home, we need our remotes to work
- treats for the humans in the house
- anti-bacterial with +60% alcohol
- vitamin C
So, my list looks crazy, right? Basically, I walked around the house and checked on how much of everything we had and created a shopping list. Water isn't an issue because we live in the Pacific Northwest (rain, rain, and more rain) and get our water from a well and a delivery service. Why both? Because – that's why! To be serious, we originally got the service to have hot and ice-cold water on demand, we got a great deal at Costco, and I sometimes worry about the changing environment's impact on rainwater.
Coronavirus and Raw Feeding
Initially, I didn't think that the coronavirus could be transmitted between humans and their pets (see update below). So I wasn't worried about my dogs or Cosmo (my cat) getting sick. What I would be worried about is making sure I have plenty of food on hand. Thankfully, I got into the habit of making sure my freezers are full. It's very rare that I have a lot of empty space in my freezers. Some people are treating this outbreak as if it's a storm and we're going to have power outages – I just want to make sure we have enough on hand to limit trips to the pet store or grocery store because I can't afford to shop retail for five big dogs.
Handle Your Meal Prep Now
Each weekend, I'll be thawing out and grinding twice the usual amount of meat, organ meat, and bone to mix with Dr. Harvey's Paradigm (or Raw Vibrance), transferring to freezer-safe containers, and putting it all back in the freezer. The reason for this is that if I do get sick, I'm not going to want to do meal prep. Thankfully, many people who tested positive for COVID-19 and are outside of the vulnerable population have mild to no symptoms and they recover. However, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Take Advantage of Sales
Last year, after learning about the number of fake supplements on Amazon, I switched most of my purchases to Chewy.com, which is more affordable for me. I also keep my eye out for special sales with my favorite brands and stock up on what we need. For me, that means making sure I have Rodrigo's pancreatic enzymes on hand to treat his EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency), CBD supplements to treat Apollo's separation anxiety, cat food for Cosmo, and base mixes to help with meal prep.
You Can Freeze Eggs, You Know
Someone I follow on Instagram (Michelle Lowe at @thebeezerbabes) shared in a raw feeding group that she freezes eggs. She just puts them in a freezer-safe container and freezes away. Wow! I'm not going to do this because, with five dogs, we go through the eggs quickly and, to be honest, I don't have room in the freezers. However, I do have friends with chickens and I buy six dozen at a time from them, with pasture-raised/certified humane eggs at Costco or the grocery store as my back up.
The eggs yolks come out sort of “gooey” in texture, but do the dogs really care? If it's a problem, Michelle recommends whisking them before freezing to help with the texture.
If Push Comes to Shove, Buy Kibble
And, if running out of raw is a risk, then I suggest buying a bag of quality kibble. I know some feel that “quality kibble” is an oxymoron, but I think everyone knows what I mean. Having a bag of kibble on hand (or a few bags if the shit really hits the fan) can be helpful if you worry about running out of raw. As I said earlier, I can't afford to shop at retail establishments to feed five big dogs. It would cost thousands to stock up my freezers. But I can afford a few big bags of quality kibble. What kind? I don't know, I feed raw. I would ask for recommendations at my local pet store. They know me and my dogs and I trust them.
I'd also stock up on eggs, canned sardines (in water or olive oil) and start making huge batches of fermented vegetables, pureed vegetables, and bone broth. I believe that all of these foods serve to make kibble healthier.
Spend Conservatively, Stay Healthy, and Don't Freak Out
I'm so blessed to work for a company that is allowing me to work from home a few days a week. Not everyone can do this. We're going to see a shift in our economy, the stock market is already losing its mind. So this is definitely not the time to plan a European vacation and I'm kicking myself for not buying trip insurance because I had to cancel a trip today due to COVID-19 concerns. I usually always buy trip insurance. But not this time. Arrggghhhh.
This is also a time to take care of ourselves. I'm making sure that I have my daily dose of vitamin C and we have colloidal silver (originally for the dogs, but I use it when I'm feeling unwell), I'm working hard to break the habit of touching my face, and I'm exercising with the dogs daily. I don't have fourteen days of vacation/sick time in case I have to be quarantined at home. So I need to stay healthy.
And, finally, I refuse to freak out. I am taking this seriously, but I'm not going to stress myself out. I'm doing everything I can to stay healthy and avoid this outbreak and we have plenty of food and supplies on hand for the dogs. So, to my question of “should raw feeders be worried?” – I believe that it doesn't hurt to make sure you can stock up on what you need for your pets in case you find yourself sticking close to home in the near future. There's some comfort in knowing that we're set for a while.
Except, I just remembered that I'm using my last tube of toothpaste. I need to pick up more tomorrow.
Update! A Dog Has Tested Positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong
On Feb. 26, health officials in Hong Kong placed a dog under quarantine after hospitalizing its owner for COVID-19 coronavirus infection. Veterinarians confirmed that the coronavirus had infected the dog too after taking nasal, oral and rectal swabs, along with fecal samples. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) published a report of the emerging disease, listing this case as the first known in dogs. Nasal and oral samples tested positive for the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the name of virus responsible for COVID-19. However, the dog hasn’t shown any outward signs of illness.PetFoodIndustry.com
What does this mean?
I'm not worried about my dogs getting sick. If I contract COVID-19 and transmit it to my dogs, I worry about anyone who comes into contact with my happy, drooling, kissing, affectionate dogs. I don't go to dog parks, my dogs don't attend doggy day care or a kennel, and we don't get many guests at our house.
Basically, if we're quarantined, then our dogs will be quarantined with us, but that was the plan already.
Read More About the Coronavirus
I will be updating this list as I find reputable articles about COVID-19, not sensationalized reports.
- There's no evidence your pet can get sick from coronavirus. Here's why one dog tested positive. ~ CNN
- A Newfoundlander is leading the global fight against COVID-19, and wants you to know the facts. ~ CBC
Read More About Raw Feeding
- 10 Sources of Taurine for Raw Fed Dogs
- How Much is ‘Too Much' Food for My Dogs?
- When Racism Overshadows Dogs
- 5 Reasons My Dogs Need Their Own Yard
- A Dog Mom's Takeaway from the 2020 Central Park Incident