It has been two years since Coronavirus first broke out in the UK, and with variants of the virus continuing to cloud 2022 with uncertainty, it is still just as vital for dog owners, walkers and four-legged friends to stay safe and COVID secure.
Despite current restrictions on working from home where possible, dog walkers are still required to travel from one house to another. Therefore, it’s important to ensure both clients and their pooches are happy, but with extra precautions in place to prevent the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus.
The safety of owners, walkers and dogs is of the utmost importance to us at GoWalkies, which is why we’ve highlighted the steps that dog walkers can take in order to minimise risk to both themselves, and their clients.
Following these simple steps will allow you to continue providing outstanding, professional service to your clients through the GoWalkies app while keeping everyone safe.
Limit direct contact
The World Health Organisation [WHO] has advised that the current Omicron variant is more transmissible than previous variants of Coronavirus, so keeping a safe distance is more important than ever.
Limit your contact by using the GoWalkies in-app messaging prior to arrival, giving your client enough time to prepare their pooch for a walk. If they are ready to go when you arrive, handing over or picking up the lead will be the only contact required. Using the secure in-app payment system will also reduce the need for cash transactions to further limit walker-to-client contact.
Wear a face covering
Face coverings limit the spread of Coronavirus by stopping the travel of particles from our mouth and nose and should be worn when in contact with dog owners or in communal areas such elevators, lobbies or receptions.
Therefore, the GoWalkies team suggest for all walkers to wear a face covering when arriving to pick up or drop off a dog to add an additional layer of protection to help keep you and your clients safe.
Limit contact with surfaces
There may be occasions where you enter a client’s home. For example, the owner might be at work, or they could even have mobility issues, meaning you must enter the house to greet, prepare and get the pet, and later, safely return them. When the situation is unavoidable, limit your contact with surfaces in their home.
Put on a face covering and sanitise your hands on arrival, only touching what is necessary once inside. If you must touch anything outside of the norm for any reason, make your client aware via the GoWalkies in-app messaging, and always sanitise your hands before you arrive and again as you leave.
Keep transport clean
If you’re travelling further afield and using your own transportation, make sure your car or van is kept clean. Bacteria can cling to clothes and fabric, and if you do have to enter a client’s house, you could be carrying the virus into a client’s household.
Keeping pet-friendly anti-bacterial sprays or gels on your person or in your vehicle will ensure that you’re well prepared to keep both clients and dogs safe when travelling.
Use the leads provided
In the past, it might have been normal for walkers to take their own lead or harness. It could be one that makes walking easier, or perhaps they just feel more comfortable knowing that it’s secure.
With COVID-19 variants having the potential to be more transmissible, it’s important to limit any possibility of cross-contamination and to do this, walkers should consider using the dogs’ own leads instead of carrying their own.
Prior to arrival, sanitise your hands before taking the lead from your client. If you’re entering the home, use the in-app messaging to ensure the lead or harness is somewhere that’s easy for you to locate, and preferably somewhere that is accessible with minimum contact such as an external porch or by the entrance to the house or flat.
During drop off, whether you’re handing over to the owner, or hanging up the lead by the back door, sanitise your hands again before heading to your next client.
As we enter another year of Coronavirus and its limitations, the future may seem uncertain; with the potential for variants, restrictions and self-isolation to continue to impact the industry. However, the dog walking community can take personal steps to collectively make the environments safer for owners, walkers and our four-legged friends alike.
Alongside these steps, utilising the tools available on the GoWalkies dog walking app means dog walking businesses are equipped to not only provide fantastic services for their clients, but to also do it in a safe and responsible way.
If you have any questions about COVID-security and dog walking, please contact a member of the GoWalkies team at [email protected]