Do you know what today is? It’s National Take a Walk in the Park Day! However, with the ongoing global pandemic that is COVID-19, you may be left wondering whether or not it’s allowed, or more importantly, safe, for you and your dog to be venturing outdoors. Well, the short answer is yes; walking your dog is both permitted by authorities and considered a fairly safe activity.
Good news, right? As a dog owner, we know that you’re worried about your dog’s health and well-being just as much as yours, and of course, recognize that our canine friends, especially bigger ones, need physical exercise every day. And in case the parks in your area are closed, you can always just find another (uncrowded) trail to walk with your dog.
It’s best to note, however, that if you have a fenced yard, it’s better that you simply allow your furry pal to burn off excess energy there. But if you don’t, then there are a few important things you need to keep in mind to make sure that you and your pooch stay virus-free throughout your outdoor bonding time.
5 Must-Do’s to Remain Safe During Outdoor Walks
Wear a mask
Since the virus travels through droplets, you could get the virus if an infected person’s saliva falls on you, whether through a sneeze or a cough, and gets into your mouth, nose, or even eyes.
Bring hand sanitizer
The main mode of transmission for the virus is through contact with contaminated surfaces, so it’s extremely important to maintain proper hygiene at all times. When you go outside, avoid touching objects and surfaces, especially ones that are smooth and non-absorbent, like plastic and stainless steel.
According to an experiment done by researchers from Princeton, UCLA and the National Institute of Health, COVID-19 can remain stable for days on smooth surfaces, so if you do come into contact with some, make sure that you sanitize your hands.
Maintain social distancing
You’ve probably heard this rule for more times than you can count, but understandably so. Putting distance between yourself and others significantly reduces the chances of viral transmission since it makes it difficult for another person’s saliva to make its way onto you. The preferred distance is about 2 meters or 6 feet. To make it easier to maintain social distancing, avoid crowded areas or only go out when there aren’t a lot of people wandering about.
You should also make sure that you don’t allow your dog to come near other dogs nor receive pets or any form of physical contact with people outside your home. While there’s no evidence that dogs and other companion animals can acquire nor transmit COVID-19, it’s possible for the virus to stick to animal fur.
Researchers say it’s highly unlikely, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about the virus, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. If ever someone approaches you and asks to pet your adorable pup, politely let them know that you’re maintaining social distancing.
Wash your hands before and after taking your dog on a walk
To make sure that you don’t get or spread the virus, it’s very important to wash your hands before and after touching your dog or going outside. When you get home, refrain from touching any of your indoor furniture and coming into contact with other family members before you wash your hands with soap and water. It’s recommended that you do so for at least 20 seconds.
Clean your dog’s paws
Aside from washing your hands, you should also sanitize your dog’s paws in case they’ve stepped on a contaminated surface. You can use pet-specific paw wipes or simply take them in the bathroom and wash their paws with dog soap and water.