Many people are trying to get outdoors during the Coronavirus pandemic. This has led many people to find new places to walk their dogs as the same scenery can get boring. But is it safe to walk your dog during a pandemic? Each person and place may lead to different answers, so we’re going to take a look at getting outdoors with your dog during the pandemic.
Is It Safe to Walk My Dog During a Pandemic?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors. If you’re wondering if it is safe for your dog to be outside during a pandemic, then the answer is yes.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus COVID-19 a global pandemic. This hasn’t stopped people from walking their dogs or enjoying life. When COVID-19 was first announced, people from all walks of life were concerned. We didn’t know what a pandemic of this scale really meant or what the end result might be.
Today, we have a much better understanding about how the virus is transmitted and what procedures we all should be taking to keep ourselves safe during this time. While it may be an inconvenience to take extra precautions, it’s in everyone’s best interest to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations.
What Procedures Should I Follow While Walking My Dog?
According to the CDC, one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to remain socially distant. But what does that really mean? They recommend:
- Staying home as much as possible
- Avoid crowded areas
- Limit how often you go out to run errands
- Try not to meet with people physically and use virtual meetings instead
- Work from home whenever possible
- When in public, stay at least six feet away from others
By following these guidelines, we can better slow the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 also is only transmitted from human to human. This means that your dog is not really at risk of catching the virus. In fact, there have only been a handful of reports of animals getting COVID-19. Of the reported animal cases, each animal was in very close contact with a human who had the disease. Due to this, it is believed that animals cannot catch and spread the disease.
Can We Visit Our Local Dog Park?
Because dogs can’t catch COVID-19, we should be able to take them to the dog park, right? The answer to this gets a little more complicated. Your dog likely won’t catch COVID-19 from any person or dog at a dog park. But what about you, their owner?
Again, the CDC recommends that you remain socially distant from others. This means that you might not have the space to take your dog to the park. If you live in a big city, other dog owners probably have the same idea, and this can lead to very crowded spaces. These are spaces you don’t want to go to.
Also, your dog cannot catch and give you COVID-19. But they are a mobile surface. If your dog jumps on another person or gets petted by a person who has COVID-19, the next time you touch your dog you may catch the virus. There’s no way to sanitize your dog after going to a dog park, so there is a slight risk to your own health each time you go.
Again, taking the proper precautions will help minimize any risk. Dog parks are a wonderful way for you to get your dog out and to let them socialize with other dogs. Just make sure you visit your dog park in a smart way.
Are There Ways to Shelter-in-Place and Still Exercise?
If you don’t want to bring your dog to a dog park, a backyard can suffice. In fact, it’s one of the best ways for your dog to get exercise. That is, if you have a backyard. If you don’t have a backyard, you should feel free to still take your dog out on walks. Just make sure you keep an eye on any other animals that they socialize with and remain socially distant from other people.
Being outdoors is necessary for everyone, so don’t take that away from your dog. If you are very worried about the pandemic or if you have someone who is immunocompromised in your home, just be sure to stay clean. Take your shoes off before coming into the home. You can even use a pet-safe grooming wipe on your dog’s paws before you bring them back into the house.
If you still cannot take your dog outside for exercise, try finding other ways for them to get their energy out. There are lots of games you can play with your dog to ensure they get enough physical activity and mental stimulation. Indoor scent training games or obstacle courses are great ways for your dog to work their body and mind.
Just because we are in a pandemic doesn’t mean life has to stop. You and your dog can still go out for daily exercise. Just make sure you get that exercise in a responsible way.