In response to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), many cities and states are encouraging people to stay at home. Avoiding unnecessary trips outside is important for minimizing your risk of exposure to the virus. However, this can really put a damper on any plans you might have for walking your dog in the near future.
After all, how can you go to the dog park to give Fido a walk when you’re busy practicing social distancing at home? While your dog might not be susceptible to coronavirus, you can still catch it from infected surfaces like unclean park benches or tables. If you get sick, who’s going to look after your furry friend?
To help you help your canine companions get the exercise and potty breaks they need, here are a few alternatives to walking the dog (and some dog walking tips).
Alternatives to Walking the Dog at the Park
1: Letting the Dog Use Your Backyard
If you’re lucky enough to have even a small backyard to your home—even one that isn’t fenced in—then walking your dog in the backyard is a simple and obvious solution. Simply put your pup on a leash and take a walk with him (or her) in your own backyard to do his business.
If your yard is fenced in, consider playing fetch with Frisbees or other toys to help your pooch get some exercise and entertainment.
2: Take a Quick Walk around the Block
Instead of traveling all the way to the dog park to walk your dog, you can simply go for a quick walk around the block. This shorter walk will be faster than a trip to the park, and you can give your dog (or dogs) a chance to explore and relieve themselves.
When walking your dog around the neighborhood, be sure to bring a disposable plastic bag for collecting his or her #2s—it would be rude to leave dog feces in other people’s yards or in the street!
3: Use a Treadmill at Home for Walking the Dog
Want to give your pet some exercise, but don’t want to leave the house—whether it’s because you’re practicing social distancing or because the weather outside is bad? Consider having your dog walk on the treadmill to let your pooch work off some excess energy without running laps in your home.
Here, you’ll need to be extra careful with how you introduce your pup to walking on the treadmill.
- Start at a very low setting and give your dog a treat when introducing them to the exercise device.
- Continue to reward your dog for walking on the treadmill at the lowest setting until he or she is completely comfortable with the device.
- Slowly turn up the speed to a comfortable walking pace.
You may even want to demonstrate how the treadmill works to your dog by giving it a go yourself before letting them walk on it.
One important treadmill dog walking tip: NEVER tie your dog’s leash to the treadmill. If your dog slips and falls, you want him to be able to slide off the treadmill easily—not get stuck on the belt!
4: Teach Your Old Dog Some New Tricks
Keeping your dog enriched throughout a quarantine can be tough. While your dog might love the fact that you’re home a lot more, you’ll probably still want to make sure they’re entertained and enriched.
So, consider keeping your pet entertained by teaching them some new tricks! Look up some dog training tips online and try to have your pet learn something new. Training can help you bond with your dog while keeping the both of you entertained and engaged.
5: Set up Puppy Pads or Other Indoor Dog Potty Options
People set up litter boxes for their cats all the time to allow their kitties to use the bathroom without having to go outside—why not do the same for your dog? There are a variety of products like puppy pads, artificial turf pads, and the like that allow dogs to relieve themselves indoors without creating a huge mess.
This can be invaluable for when your dog is stuck inside for long periods of time. Be sure to exercise some patience when training your dog to use the puppy pad or turf pad—they may not get that it’s an acceptable place to go right away.
6: Hire a Dog Walker Service
Instead of taking your dog for a walk personally, you could hire a professional dog walker to take your pooch on walks for you. This helps you limit your exposure to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases while giving your dog a chance to socialize with other canines and people.
General Dog Walking Tips to Keep in Mind
The coronavirus outbreak and the quarantine measures that are being put in place to combat it won’t last forever. So, here are a few basic dog walking tips for when the stay at home orders are finally rescinded:
- Be kind: Bring a plastic bag to pick up your dog’s poo.
- Always have a leash for your dog—even if he’s extremely well-behaved and you’re going to a park that doesn’t require them.
- Be sure to take your dog to the vet and update their shots regularly before allowing them to socialize with other dogs.
- Bring a few toys so you can play with your dog on the walk.
- If your dog likes to pull on their leash a lot, consider using a harness instead of a collar—they secure to more points on your dog, so they aren’t as likely to get choked when they try to rush forward. Also, they’re harder to slip out of than a simple neck collar.
Walking your dog is an important part of pet care because it’s a chance to give your dog some exercise and enrichment. Need help traveling with your dog over long distances? Reach out to My Pet Cab by dialing (877) My-PetCab to get started.