Perhaps, pets are the only ones who sincerely enjoy quarantine, as now they can see their owners twenty-four hours a day. At the same time, some problems and questions may logically arise: how to walk a dog, and is it even allowed? How much attention do the pets need? Do they need special care during the pandemic?
Spoiler alert: you can and should walk your dog, but it is important to stick to certain safety and hygiene rules, and this is what we are going to talk about in this article.
On the street
Be attentive and careful while walking.
Even if you have an intelligent, highly trained, and disciplined dog that faithfully obeys all your commands, it is still advisable to keep your dog on a leash. Let’s be realistic – you cannot watch the pet every second, you can’t notice everything that it sniffs or picks up. Unconscious messy people throw away used protective masks right on the street. These masks attract dogs very much, they smell them, taste them! Just thinking about it makes you want to slather on some sanitizer all over yourself.
To date, there is no scientific evidence that the contact of the mucous membranes of animals with the virus is considered dangerous and that they can be COVID-19 carriers. Hypothetically, there is a possibility that dogs and cats, like other animals or birds, can be physical carriers of viruses. This means that the virus does not enter the animal’s body but remains on the hair or feathers, and from there, it can enter the human body. Once again, we want to emphasize that this is just a theory.
When walking your dog, avoid contact with other dog owners.
We advise you to go on short walks and choose unpopular routes where there are fewer people. Obviously, public transport stops or a parking area at the supermarket are not places for walking.
If dog owners are living in your building, make a schedule of walks with pets.
Create a chat in Telegram or any other messenger that you find convenient, and agree on who and at what time will go for a walk with their dog, so as not to bump into each other at the front door and to avoid close contact in the elevator or on the steps.
Hygiene and health
After the walk, be sure to wash the dog’s paws.
It is advisable to do this with special dog shampoo or laundry soap. The shell of the virus responsible for COVID-19 partially consists of lipids. This envelope loses its structural integrity upon contact with an alkaline agent – soap.
Be sure to dry the animal’s paws after cleaning.
Wet paws create conditions that encourage bacteria and fungi to grow. If a hairdryer is your pet’s worst enemy, use paper towels.
Wash hands after contact with animals.
Now is not the best time for kissing your pet’s wet nose, because this is direct contact with your mucous membrane, so it is better to avoid such contacts. This applies not only to the novel coronavirus but also to other viruses and bacteria. Now is not the best time to get sick. Take care.
Keep your pet out of bed.
Pay special attention to your pillow and cushions because the mucous membrane of your mouth and eyes comes into contact with them. Now, as never before, it is more appropriate to make your bedroom a pet-free zone or at least not to allow animals to walk on your pillow or lie on your pillow. For instance, you can hide your pillows in a closet.
Do not allow pets to come in contact with clothes or shoes that you wear on the street.
Try to leave shoes out of reach of the pet, for example, in a bag. You can also take them to the balcony or hide them in a closet that your pet cannot enter. Exactly the same needs to be done with outerwear in which you went out or contacted with other people. By the way, the best shoes to wear during the pandemic are wellies – they are easy to wash after every walk.
Wash your pet’s collar and leash regularly, as well as clothing that you wear outside.
It is advisable to choose clothes for walking that can be washed at high temperatures. This also applies to your pet's leash and collar – wash them in soapy water after each walk and wash them every two to three days at high water temperatures.
The loungers of your cats/dogs should be regularly exposed to the sun and washed.
Alternatively, you can cover them with a blanket that you will change and wash from time to time instead.
Wet cleaning should be done once a day.
This applies not only to mopping the floor but also to all surfaces that need to be cleaned with a damp cloth, preferably adding a special solution (you can use water + laundry soap). Detergents with essential oils or bleach can also be used, but you need to carefully air the room after the cleaning and make sure none of the detergents are left of the surfaces – your pet can touch them with paws or lick them. This can cause a digestive disorder, a burn of the mucous membrane, or an allergic reaction.
Most veterinarians work as usual, but by appointment.
Reschedule or cancel all schedule and non-urgent procedures. For example, if your pet does not have a microchip, now is not the best time to run to the veterinarian to implant it. We recommend that you find out how the nearest veterinarian (or the one that you always go to) works in advance.
While you are at home, take care of your pet identification.
If your animal has a microchip implanted, check to see if it is listed in the international database and make sure all contact information in the database is correct and up to date. Regardless of whether your pet has a chip or not, prepare an ID tag for your four-legged friend with your contact information and address. You can order it online or make it yourself from everyday materials. Your fantasy and the Internet will help!
Take time for bathing, combing, teeth brushing, and claws trimming.
If your pet is afraid of these procedures, try to gradually help it to become accustomed. Spend 5-10 minutes on this daily, and you can do any procedure even with the most rebellious tiger.
Together for 24 hours a day
The fact that you are at home all day will be a pleasant surprise for your pet.
In order not to make your animal dependent on your presence in its life for 24 hours a day, you need to carefully and tactfully limit contact with it. The animal must have its own personal space and, no matter how it sounds, it must have its own stuff to do. The quarantine will end sooner or later, and it will be difficult for animals to get used to the fact that you are no longer together around the clock.
There’s another category of animals that will be worried about your 24-hour presence at home.
This is especially true for cats. As we know, they consider themselves Gods Almighty and believe that all processes in your house are controlled by their fluffy paws. If you notice that your cat/dog is worried because of your presence at home and is trying to hide somewhere – try not to cause additional discomfort. Your pet cannot say, “I am sick of hearing keyboard clacking” or “I need some time alone.” You need to give the animal the necessary free space and not annoy the pet if it avoids you.
Pets have a strong emotional connection with you.
Therefore, keep calm and balance as possible. Panic is our worst enemy in every situation. The unknown scares us and causes a huge amount of negative emotions. No one can predict how long the quarantine will last and when it will end. Be patient with your animals, even if they are being crazy. Give them some time to get used to new living conditions.
To sum up:
- Walk with your pets as little as possible, but be sure to control that the pet defecates properly.
- Avoid contact with other dogs and their owners.
- Do not change the dog’s diet to avoid digestive disorders.
- If your dog tends to pick stuff on the street, it is advisable to use a muzzle. Take the opportunity and contact a specialist for an online consultation. They will help you solve the problem of picking up stuff on the street.
- And finally, according to a study by scientists from Switzerland, male beards are much dirtier than dog hair.
Therefore, there is something to think about. Who is more of a threat – people or animals? Keep calm and enjoy being at home with your four-legged friends.