Are Dog Parks Safe During COVID-19?
As much of the world loosens lockdown restrictions, your canine friend is probably begging to get outdoors and have some fun but are dog parks safe during COVID-19? You might be surprised to learn that you should undertake some of the same precautions with your pooch as you do yourself to avoid the coronavirus.
Dangers of Dog Parks During Covid-19
Even with restrictions easing, many owners are afraid to take their dogs to public places. Some animals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world so the susceptibility does exist even if rare.
In an interview with CBC News, Dr. Rebecca Archer, from the University of Calgary, stated, "What we know right now is that we have zero, absolutely zero, cases of any dogs ever giving coronavirus, COVID-19, to a person. The only evidence we have is of people who have transferred their COVID-19 to their dog.”
Visiting any dog park should be approached with caution to protect not only yourself but also your furry friend.
Take the Time to Read the Park Rules
Dog park officials have been scrambling to update park rules during the coronavirus crisis. Nowadays, you’ll encounter many new rules. In some instances, off-leash parks are now requiring restraints, so dogs don’t interact with each other.
Social Distancing Dogs
One of the best places to let Fido work off some energy is at an off-leash dog park but you might be concerned about the possible dangers to not only yourself but also your four-legged buddy. Sometimes, when people regularly go to the dog park, they will let their dogs run loose to play a small game of fetch and the animals will take the time to sniff and interact with other neighborhood pooches. However, to keep you and your dog safe you should both socially distance.
Do not intermingle with dogs from another household. Instead, always maintain six feet or more. Keep your pooch on a leash or under complete voice control to avoid interactions with other dogs and humans.
Bring Water and a Bowl
Many dog parks have communal water bowls and faucets but to stay safe, you should bring your own water bowl and bottled water to avoid sharing and exchanging potential germs.
Picking Up and Disposing of Pet Waste
Bring your own waste bags to pick up pet waste and hang onto the bag if there are no lidless no-touch trash receptacles. You do not want to have to touch a trash lid that many hands have handled prior to you. If you do touch a trash lid to dispose of the waste bag, then use hand sanitizer to promptly sanitize your hands.
Avoid Sharing Toys
Prior to COVID-19, dog park visitors would often share dog toys such as balls or frisbees, but the practice should now be avoided. Pack your dog’s own toys and don’t share with others to avoid possible transmission.
Say ‘No’ To Petting
Many who go to dog parks love all dogs and not just their own. They want to pet every canine they encounter. However, no one is sure if COVID-19 is transmittable via dog fur. Ideally, you should politely tell people not to touch or pet your companion.
Wear a Mask
In many areas of the world, masks are mandatory. However, on a hot day, it might be tempting to take off your mask, but you should avoid removing the face covering to protect not only yourself but everyone else at the dog park.
If the dog park is open in your area, then you can certainly visit it and let your doggy play but take precautions because no one knows for sure if dog parks are safe during COVID-19. There are so many unknowns about the virus that researchers are continuing to scramble to learn so you should always remain cautious and vigilant.