Supporting Pet Owning Residents
in a Social Distancing Environment

Supporting Pet Owning Residents
in a Social Distancing Environment

​Last updated on April 1st, 2020

Pet-owning apartment residents are lucky to have furry and loveable companions in the era of social distancing. These residents often experience less loneliness and have built-in ambition to get outside during the day—while exhibiting proper social distancing measures, of course.


These isolation buddies can bring much joy to pet owners, especially in times of crisis. Research indicates that the human-animal bond can decrease blood pressure, reduce anxiety and enhance feelings of well-being. Pet-owning residents have ample reason to be happy, and apartment managers should work closely with them to ensure appropriate protective hygiene and social distancing measures are maintained during COVID-19. 


Property teams can engage in a few simple measures to help support pet owners in a social distancing environment. 

Pet-owning apartment residents are lucky to have furry and loveable companions in the era of social distancing. These residents often experience less loneliness and have built-in ambition to get outside during the day—while exhibiting proper social distancing measures, of course.


These isolation buddies can bring much joy to pet owners, especially in times of crisis. Research indicates that the human-animal bond can decrease blood pressure, reduce anxiety and enhance feelings of well-being. Pet-owning residents have ample reason to be happy, and apartment managers should work closely with them to ensure appropriate protective hygiene and social distancing measures are maintained during COVID-19. 


Property teams can engage in a few simple measures to help support pet owners in a social distancing environment. 

1 - Keep in mind that pets should practice social distancing, too

1 - Keep in mind that pets should practice social distancing, too

By now, everyone is acutely aware of the need to wash and sanitize hands thoroughly and regularly, utilizing hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Examples include Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizing Gel, Pharma-C-Wipes (70% alcohol) and Highmark Advanced Sanitizer. Yet, some people might not think to have the same diligence after petting a dog or handling pet food as they would after going to the store or touching a door handle.


Make certain your entire staff knows to not touch residents’ pets, as pet owners should also help their pets practice social distancing. If team members do touch pets out of habit, they should avoid touching their face and wash their hands immediately. Pet-care providers should also be reminded to wash their hands after handling pet food, waste, or supplies. 


To help you, your teams, and your residents be more informed, visit and share our Pets & COVID-19 FAQ Page which includes clear guidance on pet hygiene, such as practicing more frequent baths, wiping paws after outside walks and temporarily reconsidering pet smooches.


Finally, we’ve created a free informative 7 Pet Hygiene Tips During COVID-19 Poster which you can display in your communities or email to your teams and residents. 

By now, everyone is acutely aware of the need to wash and sanitize hands thoroughly and regularly, utilizing hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Examples include Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizing Gel, Pharma-C-Wipes (70% alcohol) and Highmark Advanced Sanitizer. Yet, some people might not think to have the same diligence after petting a dog or handling pet food as they would after going to the store or touching a door handle.


Make certain your entire staff knows to not touch residents’ pets, as pet owners should also help their pets practice social distancing. If team members do touch pets out of habit, they should avoid touching their face and wash their hands immediately. Pet-care providers should also be reminded to wash their hands after handling pet food, waste, or supplies. 


To help you, your teams, and your residents be more informed, visit and share our Pets & COVID-19 FAQ Page which includes clear guidance on pet hygiene, such as practicing more frequent baths, wiping paws after outside walks and temporarily reconsidering pet smooches.


Finally, we’ve created a free informative 7 Pet Hygiene Tips During COVID-19 Poster which you can display in your communities or email to your teams and residents. 

2 - Encourage residents to secure backup pet care

2 - Encourage residents to secure backup pet care

Not all residents who are positively diagnosed with COVID-19 will be hospitalized, and some residents might be self-quarantined due to possible exposure. Property management teams can assist by encouraging residents to secure a backup pet caregiver in case the need arises. While there is no known evidence that companion animals can spread COVID-19, the CDC recommends quarantined and diagnosed individuals limit their interactions with household pets.


Ill or quarantined residents won’t be able to take their pets out on their daily walk or leave their apartment to retrieve food or medication for them, so pet owners should take additional steps to be prepared in the event they encounter illness. This includes having a suitable transport crate, and a 30-day supply of food, litter and other supplies available for rapid movement of pets. Pet owners should also keep a handy document with vet contact information, updated vaccine records, and clear directions for any medication the pet requires (this means details on dosages and administering directions). Additional information about how to keep pets safe if their owner falls ill can be found here.

Not all residents who are positively diagnosed with COVID-19 will be hospitalized, and some residents might be self-quarantined due to possible exposure. Property management teams can assist by encouraging residents to secure a backup pet caregiver in case the need arises. While there is no known evidence that companion animals can spread COVID-19, the CDC recommends quarantined and diagnosed individuals limit their interactions with household pets.


Ill or quarantined residents won’t be able to take their pets out on their daily walk or leave their apartment to retrieve food or medication for them, so pet owners should take additional steps to be prepared in the event they encounter illness. This includes having a suitable transport crate, and a 30-day supply of food, litter and other supplies available for rapid movement of pets. Pet owners should also keep a handy document with vet contact information, updated vaccine records, and clear directions for any medication the pet requires (this means details on dosages and administering directions). Additional information about how to keep pets safe if their owner falls ill can be found here.

3 - Keep pet-waste bags stocked and the containers clean

3 - Keep pet-waste bags stocked and the containers clean

Property management teams should be especially diligent about keeping pet-waste bags stocked at all pet stations and ensure the containers are sanitized. Property management teams should clean the pet waste bag container thoroughly with an EPA-recommended cleaner and wear gloves before putting the new bags in place. Those experiencing a shortage of pet-waste bags can peruse a ranked list of the most-utilized bags on Amazon. While a shortage of cleaning supplies has become an overall issue, Evolve Cleaning Solutions is among the providers that recently reported no shortages

Property management teams should be especially diligent about keeping pet-waste bags stocked at all pet stations and ensure the containers are sanitized. Property management teams should clean the pet waste bag container thoroughly with an EPA-recommended cleaner and wear gloves before putting the new bags in place. Those experiencing a shortage of pet-waste bags can peruse a ranked list of the most-utilized bags on Amazon. While a shortage of cleaning supplies has become an overall issue, Evolve Cleaning Solutions is among the providers that recently reported no shortages

4 - Regularly clean up pet waste in your community

​4 - Regularly clean up pet waste in your community

The majority of pet owners are wonderful and regularly pick up after their animals. Unfortunately, however, there are always a few rule breakers. While frequently encouraging residents to be responsible never hurts, delegating a team member to walk the community and pick up pet waste will supplement the effort. This can be challenging at a time with a reduced staff due to the pandemic, but it will help ease the minds of residents.


Remember that pet waste left in your community is considered a health hazard. Property owners can keep teams safe by supplying team members with personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, and by providing safe disposal areas for the waste.


For more actionable information on supporting your teams, you can download OSHA’s Guide to Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (with guidance from the CDC), and visit NMHC’s COVID-19 Resources Hub which has been generously opened up to all owner/operators, not just NMHC members. 


The majority of pet owners are wonderful and regularly pick up after their animals. Unfortunately, however, there are always a few rule breakers. While frequently encouraging residents to be responsible never hurts, delegating a team member to walk the community and pick up pet waste will supplement the effort. This can be challenging at a time with a reduced staff due to the pandemic, but it will help ease the minds of residents.


Remember that pet waste left in your community is considered a health hazard. Property owners can keep teams safe by supplying team members with personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, and by providing safe disposal areas for the waste.


For more actionable information on supporting your teams, you can download OSHA’s Guide to Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (with guidance from the CDC), and visit NMHC’s COVID-19 Resources Hub which has been generously opened up to all owner/operators, not just NMHC members. 


In the era of social distancing, pets are a welcome diversion. They might not be a top priority to overburdened property management teams, but pet-owning resident needs should always be met. Following the steps above will help ensure a pet-friendly and pet-responsible environment, even in times of crisis. 


Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on additional information and resources pertaining to pets in rental housing and COVID-19. 

In the era of social distancing, pets are a welcome diversion. They might not be a top priority to overburdened property management teams, but pet-owning resident needs should always be met. Following the steps above will help ensure a pet-friendly and pet-responsible environment, even in times of crisis. 


Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on additional information and resources pertaining to pets in rental housing and COVID-19. 

​ADDITIONAL CONTENT & FREE RESOURCES

man with cat
woman with cat and dog
dog in bath

​Our mission of saving pets, enriching lives is made possible by the generous 

contributions of Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson

​© 2020 MICHELSON FOUND ANIMALS FOUNDATION, INC.