India is in a complete lockdown for 21 days and though essential services and functions are still open, it is making dog walking greatly difficult for pet parents. Legally, you are allowed to safely walk your dog during a pandemic but there are some do’s and don’t’s that you have to strictly follow. Let’s find out what they are.
How To Safely Walk Your Dog During A Pandemic
Here are some ways to keep you and your dog safe while on a walk.
Walk Your Dog Alone
Take your dog alone and avoid talking to anyone on the road. Avoid parks and areas that are usually crowded. If you have a lawn or a terrace, it would be best to walk your dog there. However, for those living in flats, it would be best to leave the house once and go to a secluded area like an open car park or the isolated area behind your house.
Come back as soon as you can. It would be best to carry a hand sanitiser with you.
2. Proper Protection
Many pet parents put masks on their pets. Since dogs don’t have sweat glands, it is harmful to put a mask on them. Instead, you should wear a mask. If you don’t have a mask, you can cover your nose and mouth with a cotton handkerchief or a cloth.
You can wash the mask with a bit of disinfectant and hot water once you come back from a walk.
3. Post-Walk Cleanliness
It’s very important to leave your shoes at the doorstep and wash your hands after a walk, but don’t just stop at that. Wash their paws too. It would be best to clean their paws with savlon water. Wipe their fur too if they got dirty outside and always make sure to clean the towel well after wiping them.
You can add a bit of betadine into the mixture if they seem to have an infection or small cuts on their paws. It works as a good disinfectant.
4. Using The Lift
If you live in a high rise building or if lifts are more convenient for you, it is important to follow some rules while you use them.
If you have a big lift you can take your dog to one corner in the back while another passenger comes to stand in the other corner at the front.
If you have a smaller lift, and if you have someone else waiting for the lift, we would suggest that you wait and take the next one. If you came first, you can politely request the other person to take the next lift because you are practising social distancing.
Another option is to take the stairs but that is only viable if your house is not too high up.
5. Crossing Paths
If you have to cross paths with someone while walking your dog, we will suggest that you walk to the other side of the street. If there is no other option but the cross someone’s path in close proximity, we suggest that you turn your head to the other side.
We understand that it may seem rude at first but it is for everyone’s safety.
I’m A Dog Walker. Can I Continue Walking Dogs?
For the time being, it would be best to stop your service. You can walk your own dog while your customers can walk their dogs. If by chance, your client is unfit to walk their dog for any medical reasons, we suggest that you take all the necessary precautions before and after taking their dog out.
Do not enter your client’s house. Come to their house in a mask and after walking the dog, return him to your client at the door. Disinfect your hand with a hand sanitizer.
Some residencies may have strict regulations about letting outsiders in, so make sure you have permissions and are healthy to walk the dog. If you have a cough or a cold, we would suggest that you stay at home.
Don’t Do The Following:
Remember, walking your dog is a necessity. Some dogs cannot relieve themselves at home. Hence you must walk them at least once a day. It is important to follow all the rules strictly. If one pet parent abuses these rules, it will be difficult for all other pet parents to walk their dogs.
Hence, you must not do the following:
Touching Surfaces – Remember, the virus can last on many surfaces for hours at a time. Avoid touching surfaces as much as you can.
Talking to neighbours – Yes, it may seem rude at first, but to stop the spreading of the virus, you must avoid talking to people as much as you can. Perhaps the best way to inform others that you aren’t being rude is if you wave from a distance.
Forming a group – Many pet parents love to huddle up in a group while their pets play with each other. As much as your pets love these playtimes you must take a small break from it.
Letting your dog play with a sick owner’s dog – Though it has been clarified that your dog does not spread Covid-19, it’s best to be safe than sorry. Avoid letting your pet interact with any other pets but be very strict around pets whose owners aren’t feeling well.
We hope this article was helpful. Self-isolation is a must at a time like this and we must behave responsibly when we take them out on a walk.