Can I pet sit during the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic?

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Can I pet sit during the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic?

Yes, you can continue to pet sit if your services are essential to the health and welfare of your client’s pet. 

Pet sitting is a service that can really help those who are in need of assistance: such as the elderly, those who work in essential services (doctors, nurses or other working/busy pet parents), those with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, or people who have mental health concerns or disabilities.

Be sure to seek to understand your client’s needs at this time. If you’re concerned, we have attached a printable form to the bottom of this article that you can fill in with your booking details and carry on your way to pet sitting assignments.

As always, make sure the booking is made through the Pawshake website so that your client’s pet has veterinary coverage and you are protected by the Pawshake guarantee. 

Visit the GOV.IE website to learn more about essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.

How to stay safe while pet sitting through the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Bring hand sanitiser, gloves and your own harness or leash if this is possible and safe for the dog.
  • Don’t stick around during the pickup and drop off to have a chat: you can save this for a phone call or message later. Get in and out.
  • Keep at least a 2-metre distance from your client, or arrange a contactless pickup by collecting their dog from their backyard or car.
  • Don’t touch your face at all. Wear a mask if this helps to remind you.
  • Don't over-handle the pet while in your care if possible: keep your gloves on. 
  • When returning home, be sure to dispose of your gloves, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and leave your shoes at the door. 
  • Coronavirus can stay present for days on hard surfaces after contact, so avoid touching door handles or gates without gloves, and sanitise immediately after.

How to meet and greet during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you have yet to meet, arrange a virtual meet and greet via video call via your mobile, Zoom, Google Hangouts or Facetime. 

Be sure to ask all of the important questions that you would in a meet and greet, but also about your mutual concerns about coronavirus (especially if the owner is unwell). If you are concerned, here is an official guide to some COVID-19 symptoms that you can look out for and discuss. 

If your client is unwell or in isolation, modify your meet and greet by allowing the pet to get to know you in a safe space (such as the back of the pet owner’s property) before the owner confirms the booking.

Can I get coronavirus from a pet?

According to the World Health Organisation, there is no substantial evidence that it is possible to catch COVID-19 from a pet. 

Although there have been isolated cases of cats and dogs contracting the virus, this does not lead to the conclusion that the virus can be passed from domestic pets to human beings. Further study is needed to establish how this works, and what the actual risks are. Instead of worrying about the unlikely chance of getting coronavirus from your pet, precautions need to focus on the much greater risk of human-to-human transmission through coughing, sneezing or other close contact. 

The safest option for you and the guest pet is to request that strangers don’t come up to pat your dog during their walk, wear gloves when handling a pet and to keep your cat in a contained area if possible. This is the best practice for social distancing, but also safest for your pet. Avoid crowded areas when you walk to minimise risk.

This information is current as of the 12th of April 2020 and will be updated if further developments come up.

What if I don’t feel safe pet sitting?

It is absolutely fine if you don’t feel comfortable pet sitting at this time. If you feel at all unwell, even if you don’t suspect you have coronavirus, you should stay at home. Be sure to pop your profile calendar into Away Mode if this is the case.