With all these new guidelines on social distancing, simple things like going to the store and walking your dog can seem scary. This year, the holidays look a little different, but there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy your daily dog walks. These tips will help make sure you walk your dog safely during the holidays this year and beyond.
We know you’ve heard it until it’s implanted in your brain. But wearing a mask is vital during these difficult times. Make sure you wear your mask on walks to protect yourself as well as passersby. If you’re a commercial dog walker, it’s courteous to wear one when interacting with clients and their pets.
Speaking of which, did you know dogs can test positive for COVID-19? However, it's rare and dogs don't usually show any symptoms. There's little evidence that dogs can spread COVID to humans.
The cold sidewalk can be just as harmful as hot pavement for sensitive dog paws. Make sure you protect those sweet feet by giving your dog a pair of booties. You can find these online and at virtually any pet store. Keep in mind it takes time for dogs to get used to them. You might want to practice at home before hitting the streets.
It’s a good idea to stick to well-lit and well-maintained paths. Icy sidewalks can spell disaster for a dog walker. Make sure you wear properly fitting shoes with good tread for traction and to prevent slips and falls.
Stick to uncrowded sidewalks and stay 6 feet apart from others when walking your dog during the holidays. Many cities across the US are enforcing regulations about when and where people can go, so make sure you’re abiding by your city’s ordinances during your walk. Social distancing also decreases the chances of your pup being intimidated by crowds or other dogs. Dog bites and runaways are a big possibility if your dog becomes frightened in a public setting.
Harnesses and standard leashes give the handler much more control than a retractable lead and snap collar. Neck collars can easily slip over a persistent dog’s head, especially if they’re a puller and a shaker.
Harnesses are much more challenging to get out of and usually are only able to be removed by the owner. So what’s wrong with retractable leads? They’re tougher to control. A good ol’ fashioned leash will allow you to guide where your dog goes and keep them from snatching the leash out of your hand.
Hygiene has always been important, but never so much as now. Cleanse your hands regularly if you must touch surfaces like door handles during your dog walk. Remember to always scrub your paws for at least 30 seconds with hot soapy water.
Alternatively, you can use a quality hand sanitizer, but be careful with these. In recent months, several hand sanitizer brands have been recalled for containing toxic chemicals, so check the FDA website to ensure your go-to sanitizer isn’t on the list.
Wearing reflective gear is a great idea any time of year, especially if your dog is an early morning or evening walker. Reflective gear can even come in handy on foggy or very overcast days too. Online, you can find reflective leashes, vests, and collars for dogs, as well as raincoats with reflective strips for yourself.
Holiday dog walks are something to be celebrated with all the lights and decor to look at. In recent months, leaving your house might feel scary, but you can walk easy knowing you’re taking the right precautions. We hope this guide helps your daily dog walks feel a little bit safer and encourages you to keep stepping with your fur-babies.