Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, many states have announced shelter-in-place orders. This means non-essential workers should stay home, schools have been postponed, and many businesses are closed.
If you’re at home with your family, you might also wonder if you should be walking your dog during the quarantine.
Today we have some tips and advice to help you, your family, and your dog get through quarantine.
What is Known About COVID-19?
There are several things that we already know about COVID-19, but there are still many questions unanswered. The information posted by organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is continuously changing. This is mainly due to new information being discovered.
What is known about COVID-19 is that it is a respiratory infection that is spread from person-to-person. The primary way it is transmitted is through droplets from the nose or mouth. This is then inhaled by another person. You can also get COVID-19 by touching surfaces that have been infected. This is why it is essential to disinfect surfaces and wash hands often.
Preparing for a Walk
The first thing to know about taking your dog out for a walk is if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have respiratory issues, you should not be taking your dog for walks. If you are infected by COVID-19 or suspect you have been exposed, it is vitally important that you self-isolate to avoid spreading the disease.
You should also consider if you have to take your dog out. If you have a backyard, it might be best to get exercise in there. If you live in an apartment, there are some activities you can do rather than walking your dog outside. Many trainers are also giving tips to those in self-quarantine about how to get your dog using puppy pads or sections of fake grass to go potty.
If you must still take your dog out for walks, consider using dog booties. Again, COVID-19 can spread by touching an infected surface. If your dog walks on a contaminated surface, they can bring it into your home. Using dog booties can help reduce the surfaces your dog touches. Booties can also be adequately disinfected; just be sure you wash your hands after doing so as well.
If you do not have booties, you can consider leaving a bucket of soapy water by the door and clean their feet once you arrive back home. There is no way to disinfect your dog’s paws thoroughly. Just as you should be washing your hands often, wash their paws too.
Etiquette Around Other People
If you are walking your dog, be sure to follow social distancing guidelines. You should maintain at least three feet from anyone else. This means you might want to cross streets to avoid coming in contact with others. Alternatively, you can walk out on the grass and allow someone to pass you.
Make sure you practice good respiratory hygiene as well. If you sneeze or cough, be sure to cover it with a tissue or bent elbow. This helps prevent any particles from leaving your mouth and infecting others. This rule applies not only to COVID-19 but the common cold or flu as well.
You should also not allow your dog to socialize with other dogs. As people should follow social distancing, our pets should too.
Preparedness in My Household
It’s essential to limit your contact with other people during the COVID-19 pandemic. This might mean stocking your home with supplies that will help you avoid going out. The news has shown us people going overboard on supplies, but a reasonable amount of food, water, cleaning supplies, and other things to occupy yourself will be nice to have on hand.
When it comes to your dog, you should be prepared to have at least two weeks’ worth of food on hand. Also, make sure you have plenty of toys and treats to keep your dog occupied while on a shelter-in-place order.
How to Stay Healthy Around Pets
There are some basic guidelines that the CDC recommends everyone can take to help slow the spread of COVID-19. These recommendations included:
- Often wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose as this is how infection enters the body.
- Avoid people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue and immediately throw that tissue into the garbage. Also, wash your hands after.
These recommendations can help you and your family slow the spread of COVID-19. If you know that a person in your home is ill, they should not be near the dog. Dogs cannot become infected, but they can spread the disease. If a sick person sneezes or coughs on the dog, the dog can then become a conduit of infection. If you or someone you live with has COVID-19, it is vitally important that you do not leave your home to walk the dog. This can spread the disease to others you encounter.