Dogs and Coronavirus: what you need to know about Covid-19 and your pet

Author picture Ralf  - updated: 21/03/2020

The new coronavirus significantly affects our daily lives. Many of you will have questions: Is this virus dangerous for my pets? What does this exceptional situation mean for reservations at Pawshake? Here is some key information about coronavirus (COVID-19) that you should know and additional resources you can turn to.

You and your pet's health

Can my dog get sick from Coronavirus?

There is no evidence that dogs’ health is impacted by COVID-19. There is also no evidence whatsoever that dogs can catch and transmit COVID-19 to humans. The official advice is that we can continue to interact with our pets. We can take care of our pets normally and you or someone else can just walk your dog. That doesn't mean, however, that a dog that’s living with someone infected with the new coronavirus can’t carry the virus on their fur or elsewhere on their body. It only means that it looks like this particular coronavirus can’t actively make your dog sick. Your pet does not get sick and does not become contagious. Nevertheless, it is advisable to observe the hygiene measures as much as possible (wash hands). Corona patients are also advised to have as little direct physical contact with the pet as possible (stroking, licking). If you are in home quarantine it is best to let your dog walk by someone else.

I read somewhere that dogs CAN get coronavirus.

According to current scientific knowledge of the virus, dogs cannot become ill from COVID-19, but there are about 40 types of coronavirus and three of these other viruses can infect dogs—these are called Canine Coronaviruses. These viruses are in the same family as COVID-19, but the symptoms are generally mild and they do NOT infect humans. For other Coronavirus related "Myth Busters" go here.

Can a pet spread the coronavirus?

The World Health Organization has stated, “To date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.”

Reservations and Cancellations during the Pandemic

My vacation has been canceled. Can I also cancel my Pawshake reservation?

Pawshake has a lenient cancellation policy. In many cases, you will be refunded the full amount, but pay close attention to what cancellation policy applies. If you cancel a reservation, you are entitled to a 50% or 100% refund of the reservation amount, depending on the time of cancellation and the petsitter's cancellation policy. If you cancel the reservation after the start of the booking period, you are no longer entitled to a refund. In most cases, the pet owner can cancel a reservation themselves.

The cancellation policy can vary between pet sitters. For your applicable cancellation policy, check your pet sitter’s profile. There are two options:

Flexible Cancellation Policy: Full refund if the owner cancels before 12:00 noon to 1 day before the start of the reservation period. If later (but before the start), the owner is entitled to 50%. Canceling during the reservation period does not entitle you to a refund.

Standard Cancellation Policy: Full refund if the owner cancels before 12:00 noon to 7 days before the start of the reservation period. If later (but before the start), the owner is entitled to 50%. Canceling during the reservation period does not entitle you to a refund.

I'm planning a vacation, but it’s uncertain whether it will go through. But I would like to have everything sorted for my pet in advance. What should I do?

If you want to plan a holiday, it is wise to take into account that you will need a pet sitter. Especially in the summer months, it can be quite busy and many pet sitters are fully booked. With Corona, vacations are likely to be booked later during the year and more people will book holidays in their own country, but then there will still be a need for pet sitters. If a booking is not yet definitively finalized, you run the risk that your sitter will eventually no longer be available when you go on holiday. Without a definite reservation, you are not protected with the Booking Guarantee (which protects you against last-minute cancellations by the sitter.) It is therefore wise to make a reservation.

It is risk-free to book a pet sitter in advance. A reservation with a pet sitter is only final when it has been paid. As soon as you make an official booking, you also have the assurance that the pet sitter remains available to you, and you are protected with the Pawshake Guarantee. At Pawshake, keep the money safe and only pay the sitter after a successful reservation period. If your holiday is canceled, you can also cancel your sitter. Again, pay close attention to the pet sitter's cancellation policy. If your holiday is canceled, make sure you cancel your Pawshake sitter in time so that you get the booking amount back.

I am a sitter. Do I need to reconsider my bookings?

You can proceed with your bookings as normal, but we advise you to take the necessary hygiene measures before and after dropping off / picking up your guest's pet. Wash your hands and don’t shake hands or have physical contact with your clients. Instead, smile and wave to each other :-)

Please check your cancellation policies and see whether they still work for you in general or whether during this situation you offer your clients to cancel without a fee. In order to get more bookings, you could download your marketing materials from your dashboard, offer dog walking services for those who stay at home or hosting pets for people who are currently unavailable because of long shifts or emergencies.

I am sick and need to stay home. How do I keep my dog busy and stimulated?

If you are more indoors because, for example, you work at home or are at home in quarantine, then that is a great opportunity to do brain work for dogs indoors. Dogs not only get tired of movement but also from thinking, sniffing, tracking and playing. For example, you can hide sweets in the house, in a sniffing mat, a towel or in toilet rolls. You can also purchase a real dog puzzle. Make sure that the brain work does not take too long, that your dog achieves success and above all has a lot of fun! Sometimes it takes a while for him to figure it out, build it up in a few minutes and praise your dog exuberantly if he 'understands the game'! If you do not want to or cannot go outside yourself, you can always book a dog sitter who will take your dog out as a walking service.

Is there anything else I should consider?

As the situation has proven to change quickly, it’s a good idea to have an emergency plan for when you get sick. If you won’t be able to take care of your pet, make sure to have a back-up from family or friends or a pet sitter. Also, keep in mind that flights can be delayed or rescheduled. If you might be in a situation where you have to leave the house (because you work in a vital sector like health care, or if you have to help out a sick family member or friend) make sure to make arrangements for your pet when you have to go away. For last-minute pet sitter bookings, check Pawshake for available local pet sitters and add the specific dates to your search

If you are feeling sick, please consider whether you should cancel your reservations to reduce the risk of spreading germs to others. For instructions on how to cancel a booking, read this article from our Help Center: for sittersfor owners.

I have more questions. Who do I turn to?

The Pawshake team is staying current on all news about the virus and we continue to operate as usual. We recommend and get our own updates from these authoritative sources The UK Kennel Club, the National Health Service (NHS)UK Government Coronavirus page, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

We ask that all pet owner and sitters follow these simple preventative measures to keep yourself and your community safe:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • If you have concerns about your health or any symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects or surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you have any questions about your reservation, about Pawshake or about Pawshake and the coronavirus, our customer service is there for you.