By now, we’ve all heard of COVID-19, a respiratory disease initially discovered in late 2019.
COVID-19 is spread from person to person in several ways, but because we have only known about this virus for a few months, much is still unknown. What we do know is that COVID-19 spreads via small droplets from an infected person when they cough or exhale. The droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people become infected when they:
- touch these contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth
- breathe in droplets from a person infected with COVID-19 when they cough or exhale droplets
The most effective way to prevent infection with COVID-19 and reduce the spread in the community is to:
- practice social distancing
- thoroughly and frequently wash your hands
- limit contact with potentially contaminated surfaces or potentially infected people
Many parts of the world are practicing social distancing to help slow the spread, or flatten the curve, of COVID-19.
To the enjoyment of many pets around the world, their “parents” are now home everyday! As a result, pet sitters and dog walkers may find that fewer clients need their services. However, many pet owners are first responders, health care workers, and the ever-appreciated restaurant, grocery store, and pharmacy employees who still may need help to care for their pets.
It’s important that pet sitters and dog walkers not only protect themselves but their clients and the general community as well. Limiting contact with clients and potentially contaminated items in your clients’ homes will help to protect everyone – we’re all in this together.
If you’re a dog walker or pet sitter, keep the following in mind (and if you employ one, keep these tips in mind to help protect them and you as well):
- Limit face-to-face interactions with clients – try to do most of your communications over the phone or via email or text.
- Remain 6 feet (2 meters) apart if you must meet with a client.
- Limit how often you touch doorknobs, countertops and other surfaces, and pet supplies (leashes, food and water bowls, etc.).
- Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after touching anything in the home. The CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Limit close contact with pets (snuggling, kissing, or letting them lick your face).
- When walking dogs, maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) from other people. Choose uncrowded trails to help reduce your contact with other people.
Be sure to keep communication lines open regarding any possible contact with an infected person. Keep in mind that protecting everyone involved is the goal. If you develop any signs of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, stay home and let your clients know. Develop a backup plan now in case you become ill.