Pet stores will remain open during coronavirus closures

“All Petco stores are open and continue to provide essential products and services to the pets that rely on us during these uncertain times,” the national brand said in a statement to TODAY.

Alexandra Home, senior director of marketing at Pet Valu, told TODAY that since pet stores are a “main source” of pet food and supplies, they are considered essential stores and are currently open. to the public to “provide pet owners with everything they need”. “

In-store purchases

For those in areas where in-store shopping is still an option, some pet stores have revealed details about their safety and cleaning protocols. PetSmart shared a list of practices, including the following, in a press release:

  • Store associates are “following regular cleaning practices using disinfectant formulated to kill coronavirus, among other germs, and have increased the frequency of cleanings of key customer touch points” such as door handles, shopping carts and checkout kiosks.
  • Grooming tables, kennels, water bowls, food bowls and toys are cleaned and disinfected between each pet service.
  • Grooming tools are cleaned and disinfected between each animal service.
  • All surfaces and playrooms are cleaned every evening.
  • Air filters are changed weekly to maintain “clean, healthy air” in grooming areas.

PetSmart says it is also “closely following guidance” from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and national public health agencies.

Homa said Pet Valu stores will focus on additional cleaning during this time. She also clarified that the stores had not experienced any shortages of supplies and did not expect to have any in the future.

“There are so many (pet food) selections that it’s not necessarily a brand people come for,” she explained. “We haven’t had any inventory issues in our stores yet. … Our warehouses have been able to restock and our stores are getting trucks in every week.”

It’s also a good idea to prepare an emergency kit for your pets. The American Humane Society recommends having two weeks worth of pet food on hand, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also recommends having a 30-day supply of medication for your pet.

Petco said TODAY that beginning March 17, store hours nationwide will be limited to allow “appropriate and efficient restocking and to limit the time our customers and partners can interact in our shops”. Other services like in-home dog training and online grooming appointment booking are currently cancelled.

Curbside and express pickup options

To limit time spent outdoors, try curbside or express pickup options. Petco stores offer a system where customers can place orders online and then pick up their prepared order in-store; Local pet stores may offer even more flexible options, such as curbside pickup.

Shopping online

For those who don’t want to leave their homes at all, pet food and supply deliveries may be the best option.

“The health, safety and well-being of our team continues to be our top priority,” Diane Pelkey, vice president of communications and public relations at, told TODAY. “From now on, we plan to continue our operations and are working diligently to fill all orders while ensuring a safe working environment for our team members.”

National broadcasters have said they are not planning any service disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic. Getty Images

Pelkey ​​noted that due to “higher customer demand”, the retailer expects “deliveries will take a little longer during this time”, but did not provide further details on the type. delays that pet owners might expect.

PetCo said TODAY that due to supply demand, they have stopped shipments of “non-essential” pet items, including pet toys and pet clothing. However, other supplies will be available online.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation and our team is working tirelessly to meet the needs of all pet parents,” PetCo said in a statement to TODAY. “In addition to our physical stores, we are prepared to serve self-isolating pet parents.”