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Can Dog Walker Still Work

author
Elaine Sutton
• Wednesday, 20 January, 2021
• 8 min read

First if you're not familiar with these type of Orders, I am in no way suggesting that dog walkers don't provide a valuable, much needed service. What I'm talking about here are government Orders that define which jobs are seen as “essential” and can continue to operate during a shelter in place, lockdown, or similar situation.

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(Source: dogsinneedofspace.com)

Contents

If dog walking is considered “essential” in my service area and 2). My hope in sharing this is that it will help you determine if dog walkers are considered “essential” or “key” workers in your own area as well as to share the considerations and factors I looked at while making my decision, so you can make the best choice for your business.

Keep in mind things may be wildly different based on your location and this is simply the experience I had here in Marin County, California. I can only share my personal experience and recommendations from being under a shelter in place order for the past week, reading Orders and FAQ's for multiple counties, and speaking to my local human health services.

You'll probably be able to find it online by doing a search for “shelter in place order + your county (or your city or town)”. The Order may include verbiage telling you if dog walkers are considered essential.

If it doesn't mention professional dog walking, or it's unclear on whether any reference to pet care would apply to you, you can look for an FAQ about the Order. The County websites I've looked at include both the order and an FAQ clarifying it further.

Most likely, they will be able to help you interpret the order and let you know if dog walkers are considered “essential” or “key”. The order for my area was pretty vague initially, it said it was OK to go for a walk or to care for a pet in another household, but that seemed to be intended for the dog owner, or to help out a family member, not business owners.

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When contacting my human health services, there was confusion with the rep I spoke with too, who initially said she thought professional dog walking was OK. After putting me on hold and speaking with a supervisor, I was told they would be updating the FAQ to address this and to check back later.

So there's still some gray area here since we have to interpret what exactly “health and sanitation” means as well as “non-essential” home services. As a business owner, it's up to you to do your due diligence to ensure you're complying with any public health Orders that may be enacted, so if you aren't sure, the best course of action is to contact an agency who can tell you.

Even though I directed you to find out if it is legal to continue walking first, health and safety should be your top priorities. All business owners should put the health and safety of themselves, their staff, their clients, and their communities ahead of all else.

Can the dog's most basic needs, such as access to food and water be met without your service? Since my clients are all working from home, they can take care of their own dogs' basic needs, and then some.

Working with Dog has complied a list of resources for pet professionals, including companies that are offering financial relief. Hand sanitizer is now flying off the shelves as people try to protect themselves against COVID-19, while calls to NHS 111 is on the rise.

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(Source: wagwalking.com)

Coronavirus UK: It is still safe to take your dog out in groups (Image: GETTY) Caroline Real, Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross told Express.co.UK it is safe to take your dogs out in a group in most circumstances. She said: “The coronavirus outbreak is an evolving situation but if the dog walker is healthy and hasn’t been at risk of infection, then it is safe for them to take your dog out, as there is no current evidence that pets or companion animals can be infected with the new coronavirus or that dogs play a role in the spread of human disease.

“However, as with people, if you become sick with the virus it is recommended that to limit contact with pets and other animals and, where possible, have another member of your household care for them. Coronavirus UK: Dogs cannot pass COVID-19 to humans (Image: GETTY) The signs of coronavirus can easily be confused with other diseases, so pet owners are advised to seek veterinary advice if your cat or dog has diarrhea that does not resolve within 24 hours, or is associated with significant lethargy or loss of appetite.

A statement confirms there is still no evidence at this time that dogs and cats could be a source of infection to other animals or humans. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association urges pet owners in areas where there are known human cases of COVID-19 to continue to follow the information in its Advisory, including washing their hands when interacting with their pets and, if sick, wearing face masks around them.

“Further advice from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association is that there is currently no evidence that pets can be infected with Covid-19 and this remains the case at the time of commenting. “The reported case of the Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong is undergoing further tests, and it would be inappropriate to speculate until we know more.

The Coronavirus pandemic has already shed light on a lot of things about us: our penchant for panic-buying, how infrequently some people used to wash their hands (ice), our steadfast belief that toilet paper is a panacea for all ills, and just how much we all touch our damn faces. But it's also thrown into sharp relief just how little of a safety net the people we depend on to make our lives better, more convenient, and more stylish really have.

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(Source: wagwalking.com)

I'm talking about gig workers, the estimated 57 million Americans who walk our dogs, watch our kids, care for our elderly relatives, style our hair, deliver our takeout, wax our eyebrows, and perform myriad other services. Some 36% of Americans work in the gig economy, and while these jobs have long been branded as side-hustles, the reality is that an increasing number of people depend on them to survive, says Erin Patton, an associate professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo who focuses on the sociology of work.

Nationwide, women make up about half of all gig workers, and do the lion's share of childcare work. “Most of these workers are working to support themselves and their families, and they need this money,” Patton tells Style.

On Saturday, March 14, the mayor of Duress' small city across the river from Manhattan ordered all yoga studios to close indefinitely, and her weekly private client canceled for the entire month out of concern for her 4-month-old daughter and elderly mom. Over the weekend, the House of Representatives passed a major bill aimed at providing free coronavirus testing, food assistance, and emergency paid sick leave, providing relief for the more than 40% of service workers who didn't have any paid sick leave in 2019.

Sarah Nash is the owner of Pup Strut, a dog -walking service in Tacoma Park, Maryland. But as much of the Washington, D.C. metro area where she lives skips their commute and practices social distancing, Nash says the work is drying up.

On Friday, she told Style, “My clients have begun letting me know that they are working from home and will be walking their own dogs.” Now she estimates she's already lost 80% of her clients as growing fears over the spread of germs also lead people to cancel.

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“Independent contractors must budget their lives in a very different way to compensate for lack of employee benefits. Nor does it cover the expected costs these workers handle every day: the rent, food, childcare and other basics.

That's why Bridget McClain Vetoed her dog walker and house cleaner already, even though neither will be coming to her Maple wood, New Jersey home in the near future. She says she included a note for her walker about how much her dog misses her, and plans to pay her house cleaner a bonus when she comes back after weeks of the family of four being at home full-time.

Duress, who is working to set up virtual yoga lessons for her clients, hopes her students step up to practice what they preach, even during this uncertain time. The Coronavirus pandemic is unfolding in real time, and guidelines change by the minute.

We promise to give you the latest information at time of publishing, but please refer to the CDC and WHO for updates. This illness is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans.

In addition to physical distancing, wearing a face mask can reduce the spread of COVID-19. You should wear a face mask whenever you are in public or interacting with others, especially if you cannot maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.

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If you interact with them while picking up or dropping off their dog, you should wear a face mask and attempt to stand at least 6 feet apart during conversation. People frequently shed the virus without showing any symptoms of disease, so it is important to practice physical distancing even with clients who appear healthy.

There have been a limited number of reports of dogs and cats testing positive for COVID-19, after being infected by their owners. At this time, it is unknown whether an infected dog or cat could pass the virus to another human.

Keep in mind that to date, there are millions of human cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and fewer than 100 cats and dogs have tested positive, many of which have not exhibited signs or become ill. If the client is home, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet and wear a face mask.

Limit close contact with pets belonging to individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Having information about your clients’ health can help you avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Avoid being in proximity with the client and, if you must interact at a distance, ensure that both of you are wearing masks. Clients at high risk of occupational exposure also deserve special consideration.

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Consider walking these dogs later in the day, in order to minimize potential spread to other homes. Finally, if you develop any signs of COVID-19, including cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, it is important that you stay home from work.

Aline M. Holmes, DNP, RN, a clinical associate professor at Rutgers University School of Nursing echoes that statement. Leashes and even your dog’s fur may be able to carry the virus, and if your walker happens to be infected, it could then be transmitted to you and your family.

That's because the COVID-19 virus can remain viable on various surfaces, including fabric, plastic, and metal, for a period of hours to days, says the CDC. According to the World Health Organization, most viruses are inactivated at temperatures between 140 and 149 degrees Fahrenheit, while the CDC says heat above 167 degrees Fahrenheit kills the flu virus.

Perhaps the bigger safety issue at the laundromat is maintaining social distancing and avoiding other potentially contaminated surfaces, reports The Huffington Post. Whether you're at the laundromat or at home, you need to be particularly careful handling clothing, towels, linens, and such if someone in your household is sick.

“This is a difficult decision, especially for people who don't have the option of working from home, like health care workers,” Dr. Watkins says. But, if they live elsewhere, it can be an issue, even if they’re doing a good job practicing social distancing when they’re not with you.

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(Source: www.heathcaldwell.com)

If you absolutely need someone to come into your house, Holmes recommends having them wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as soon as they come in, and continuing to practice good hand hygiene while they’re in your home. Of course, if you stop using these services, it means the people you’ve been employing don’t get paid.

However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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