With the nation’s leaders giving us mixed messages about how to handle the Coronavirus, we’re all a little confused about how to handle our own interactions, let alone those of our furry family members.  

What We Know

You should always defer to the CDC for the latest official information and guidelines, but this is what we know:

NYC Parks Dog runs are open, however  Our off-leash rules still apply, but please note that the Center for Disease Control recommends that all dog owners keep their dogs on a leash and maintain at least six feet of distance from other people and animals.

Evidence to date shows that it is possible for humans to pass the COVID-19 virus to pets, but there is not enough evidence to show that pets can pass the COVID-19 virus to humans.  That being said, the World Health Organization recommends that pets who have come in contact with infected human or other pets, follow the same quarantine guidelines applied to humans, as new information regarding the virus is uncovered daily.  

Humans should always sanitized their hands after handling, playing and/or cuddling with their furry friends, but it is not necessary for furry friends be sanitized, and especially not with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any other products not approved for animal use.  Due to the lack of reported cases, the risk of COVID-19 spread through animal fur and hair is considered low. Regular bathing is of course okay.

So What Do We Do?

Until the powers that be get a handle on the situation, we can only follow good common sense and courtesy.

Wear a face mask at the dog run, and keep it on, especially when if you are engaged in conversation or play with either a human or dog. If you are asked to put a mask on, please comply in order to be a good neighbor.

If you feel that the dog run is too crowded to maintain appropriate social distance, don’t enter. Come back another time. There are plenty of times during the day with the dog run is not crowded.

If you or your dog have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please refrain from coming to the dog park for the quarantine time required by the CDC and government officials, before coming back to the dog park.

If slobbering has occurred during play, wipe your dog down when you get home with pet wipes, waterless pet shampoo, or a cloth wet with water. Remember, it’s NOT recommended to give dogs full baths every day, because frequent bathing can cause skin irritation and fur thinning.

Keep hand sanitizing wipes (or baby wipes, if sanitizers are in short supply) on you at all times in the dog run. This is a good idea in general, as slobbering and other accidents will always occur.

Ask for permission before petting or otherwise handling someone else’s dog. This is mandatory in general, but it’s not a bad idea to do with people/dogs who you are meeting or seeing for the first time since the COVID shut down, because each person may have a different comfort level.

Conversely, if your dog has a tendency invade the personal space of human as a result of being overly friendly or affectionate, make the human who are present aware of this, and keep your dog away from people who say it makes them uncomfortable.

For official information about COVID-19 and your pets, or if you have any concerns, always defer to your veterinarian, the CDC or the NYC Health Department.

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