Activity is essential for your dog’s physical and mental health. However, it’s important to follow safety precautions for you and your pet during this time while also following the requirements of quarantines, shelter in place orders and social distancing measures. Exercise is just as important for your dog as it is for people. While you might have to make some changes to your routine, it’s important that you still walk your dog (if allowed, locally).
Walking the Dog
When you walk your dog, you’ll want to think about a few factors. How highly-trafficked is your walking route? Are there times of day that are busier than others? If your walking route is a busy one, you might want to consider altering your route during the pandemic to one that is less crowded. You can also choose to change your walk time to a time that is less crowded on your usual route. Of course, you’ll need to keep in mind any restrictions such as curfews. Before and immediately after your walk, wash your hands thoroughly. Carry hand sanitizer with you as well as a face mask. If you find yourself in a crowded situation, you can slip on the face mask to reduce exposure risk.
Also, don’t let anyone pet your dog and don’t pet other people’s dogs. You don’t know if that person has been sick or exposed. You don’t want them to unintentionally deposit virus onto your dog’s fur and you don’t want to unintentionally pick up virus from another dog’s fur yourself. While scientists say that dogs don’t catch COVID-19, it is possible to spread it to others on their fur. So, it’s best to avoid touching other dogs or letting anyone touch yours.
For the time being, it is best to completely avoid dog parks if at all possible. Surfaces in the dog park can be a hotbed of germs for you and your pet to pick up and carry. You also can’t limit your dog’s exposure to other dogs in a dog park setting. Dogs rubbing against each other in the dog park can spread germs from one dog’s fur to another dog. It’s also harder to socially distance from other people when at a dog park. If off-leash time for your dog to run is absolutely necessary and you don’t have a fenced in yard, choose to go to the dog park at off-peak times when you are least likely to run into other people or dogs. Wear gloves and a face mask and avoid touching any surfaces in the park. If you have a fenced in yard, this is the best option to protect both you and your dog from exposure to the virus. Even in your yard, make sure you wash your hands before and after outdoor play and wipe your dog’s feet down when you come inside.
Keeping your dog active during the pandemic can be a challenge. You might need to adjust where you walk or when you walk to best protect yourself and your dog. It’s important to find ways to keep your dog active for his and your physical and mental health.