Tips for Keeping Pets and Pet Caretakers Safe

 In For Your Pets

Many dog walkers and sitters saw a significant decrease in business at the start of the pandemic. Practically overnight, pet owners canceled their vacations and business trips and switched to working from home. The situation seemed unsettling for a few weeks, but most states around the country declared dog walkers and sitters an essential service. The demand walkers and sitters never completely went away.

For some owners, it was important to have their dog walkers take their dogs out for regular exercise to maintain a routine. Others fled the cities and sometimes had to leave their pets behind. And while air travel may have decreased, owners are still looking for safe, socially distant getaways. 

Walkers and sitters have had to make some adjustments to how they run their business. On top of that, owners may also be experiencing new anxieties as they start entrusting their pets to their sitters again. It’s more important than ever to instill trust in owners and prioritize safety.

Here are 5 tips for keeping pet caretakers and their furry companions safe during each visit:

1. Wear a mask
Walkers should wear a mask when entering their client’s home. If the owners are present, try to maintain a six-foot distance. If the owners are not present, keep the mask on regardless to avoid coughing or sneezing on surfaces.

2. Carry hand sanitizer
It’s a good idea to always carry hand sanitizer and use it every time one comes in contact with high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops. Dog walkers especially should use hand sanitizer during walks if they touch anything, and wash their hands upon arrival to their client’s home.

3. Avoid touching surfaces around the house
Walkers go in and out of several homes every day, so it’s important to limit the number of things they touch in their clients’ homes. Sitters who stay for longer periods of time should try to disinfect areas they came into regular contact with such as countertops, tables, and doorknobs. 

4. Limit contact with strangers
It’s possible for cats and dogs to contract coronavirus. While infection is likely limited to human-to-pet transmission, it’s safer to limit contact with strangers when out on a walk. The fewer people pets and walkers come in contact with the better. This might mean politely declining to eager kids asking if they can pet the dog.

5. Disinfect leashes
Both pet caretakers and owners will be touching the leash quite often, so it’s safer for both parties if walkers wipe down the leash after each use. Ask the owners if they can leave out disinfectant wipes or wipe down the leash with some hand sanitizer. Walkers and sitters can consider bringing their own leash and disinfect it after each use. 

Walkers and sitters should always put their safety first and take the necessary precautions to give the best care possible to their furry companions during these difficult times. Discussing the safety measures both owners and caretakers can take will help foster trust and peace of mind for everyone involved.

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