Animal shelters in Alameda and Contra Costa counties urged pet owners Friday to develop an emergency plan in the event they are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus and cannot care for their pets.

While hospitals are working to meet ever-increasing coronavirus patient demands, animal shelters in both counties — including animal services departments in Contra Costa County and the cities of Hayward, Berkeley, Oakland and Antioch — expect that the outbreak could leave hundreds of pets needing care when their owners are hospitalized.

Pet owners are advised to make an emergency kit with food, at least two weeks of required medication and other necessary supplies such as a travel kennel or crate.

Pet owners should create a written emergency plan, including their name and contact information, their pet’s feeding schedule, vaccination and veterinarian information and any relevant information about medications and instructions for treatment.

Pet owners should also find a temporary caregiver among their family, friends, neighbors, pet sitter or local pet boarding facility. Animal shelters from the two counties warned that public shelters are not equipped to handle a large influx of pets needing long-term care.

Source