woman with dog in park

(Picture Credit: Julia)

So much has changed in the last few months and continues to change weekly–and even daily. Our lives have been impacted dramatically. However, with so many pet parents confined to their homes, our dogs have never been happier!

Staying informed is essential, but taking time out for meditation and dog walks is also important, both for our health and for the well being of our pups.

Having a healthy immune system should be a huge priority for everyone, and a few ways to attain that are with a healthy diet, exercise, and–for now–social distancing. Social distancing is a new term for a lot of us, but like it or not, it’s here to stay.

Here are a few ways to practice social distancing when you’re out walking your dog.

Cross The Street And Maintain Separation

woman walking dog on wooden path

(Picture Credit: Julia)

One thing that many dog walkers naturally do when they see another dog or person walking toward them is cross the street.

This doesn’t happen all the time, but at the moment, it should be rule number one for a person with a dog or without. If you see someone coming in your direction while out walking your dog, give them space and cross the street if it’s safe to do so.

At the moment, staying six feet apart from other people is about the best way to show respect to each other. It’s also an official guideline from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can read the rest of the CDC guidelines here.

There is currently no evidence that pets can spread the disease or get sick from it. All the same, it’s best during this time to avoid petting dogs who aren’t yours, as sad as that might be for us dog lovers. Unfortunately, our dogs need to practice social distancing right now, too.

Keep It As Clean As Possible

Dog walking can be a dirty business. We do, after all, clean up after our pups when they poop because we’re all good, responsible pet parents.

With that in mind, we need to be extra cautious. Cover your coughs and sneezes on your walk with a tissue or your elbow, even if you’re social distancing. Don’t use your bare hands. Throw any used tissues in the trash right away.

If you’re sick, wear a face mask in public places. The CDC only advises this if you’re sick so we can save face masks for caregivers who need them.

Most importantly, wash your hands when you come in from your walks. Even if you haven’t touched anything outside, this is a good habit to get into right now. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and if you use hand sanitizer, make sure it’s at least 60 percent alcohol.

The CDC also recommends cleaning surfaces in your home on a daily basis if you use them frequently. Follow their guidelines to make sure you’re cleaning properly.

You Can Still Communicate From A Distance

woman with dog on pier

(Picture Credit: Julia)

While you’re out walking your dog, it’s still a great time to acknowledge other people. You are telling them, “We are all in this together.” And you don’t need to get up close to do it.

Here are a few safe ways to acknowledge people in passing while walking your dog:

  • Smile: A smile is a great way to let other people know that you see them and they matter.
  • Give a thumbs up: It’s like saying, “Hey, I see you. You see me. Let’s stay positive!”
  • Wave: This is the most popular at the moment. You’re kind of saying, “Hello, but let’s both be safe.”

Be conscious, be courteous, and keep your distance from others.

How are you practicing social distancing on your dog walks? Do you have any other tips for pet parents to stay safe? Let us know in the comments below!

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