Dog Walking for Imunocompromised People Protocol

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This protocol is a draft. It has not yet been accepted as protocol and may be incorrect or poorly cited. Please do not use this in your work until it has been accepted.

Please see #protocols on Slack to discuss this protocol further.

This page is specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our covid protocol still focuses on somewhat older science relating to droplet transmission. We are currently reviewing this. It will be updated rapidly.

This is the protocol for walking pets for someone who is self-isolating because they are immunocompromised. It is designed to minimising the risk of introduce the virus to their home. It may appear long and thorough, but it is absolutely essential that virus is not introduced into the home of someone especially at risk, who may need an ICU bed if infected. The walker should not enter the owners's home at any point during this process, to prevent the virus from being spread into the house (on shoes etc). People receiving deliveries should be aware that anyone who attempts to gain entry is not acting according to protocol.

What To Do Before Collecting the Dog (Walker)

  1. You should bring your own lead as you will not bae able to dissinfect this between hand-over.
    • Clean and disinfect the lead, following the Disinfecting things protocol. Place the lead in a bag which has been disinfected the inside of, or which is new. Close the top as much as you can.
  2. Travel to see the person, in a way which minimises your risk of exposure to the virus.
    • If possible, travel by pavement, a private car in which you’ve wiped down all the surfaces you’ll touch with bleach solution, or a taxi.
    • If you must use public transport, try not to touch spaces with your hands, use hand sanitiser after travelling if available, or wear gloves which you can change.
    • If wearing gloves while travelling, you should remove these immediately after leaving the train/bus, without touching the exterior with your bare skin, so that they turn inside out to enclose the potentially-contaminated surface. (illustrated technique, video technique)
  3. As you approach the person's house, call/text/etc them to open the door.
    • You should do this before you put on (fresh) gloves, so that you don't risk contaminating the gloves with any virus that may be on your phone.
    • If they live in a block of flats or other building with a communal entrance accessed by a buzzer, you should call/text and ask them to buzz you in, rather than pressing the button.
  4. Use hand sanitiser if you have any.
  5. Put on fresh gloves if you have any, ensuring that you touch only the cuff of the glove with your bare hand. (illustrated technique) This minimises the risk of transmitting viruses to the exterior of your gloved hands.
    • If you have hand sanitiser, use it before putting on the gloves.
  6. If there are plenty of masks available in your area, you should wear a mask for this; if not, prioritise masks for healthcare workers and people who must enter houses to assist with personal care.
    • If you do have a mask, put it on before putting on your gloves, to minimise the risk of transferring virus from your face to your gloved hands. (ECDC)

Collecting the Dog

  1. The owner should bring the dog to the door, already in harness/collar, and back away a minimum of 2m.
    • The dog can be tied up, or held on a seperate lead by the owner. so that the walker can attatch the lead from the outside. They should not step through the doorway.
  2. The 'walker should attatch their lead, and back away a minimum of 2m.
    • Do this as quickly as possible, and don't talk while doing it.
  3. The 'owner should then put on fresh gloves (illustrated technique) and release the dog from their lead/tie.

Walking the Dog

  1. You should put on fresh gloves whenever touching the dog.
  2. You should not allow anyone else touch or pet the dog during the walk.

Returning the Dog

  1. The walker should repeat the process for approaching the house.
  2. The walker should back away from the door a minimum of 2m, leaving the dog reachable from inside the door.
    • The walker can tie up the dog if necessary.
  3. The owner should apply their lead, and back away a minimum of 2m.
  4. The walker should then use hand sanitizer (if available) and apply fresh gloves.
  5. The walker should then approach the dog and release it from their lead.
    • Do this as quickly as possible, and don't talk while doing it.

If The Dog is in a House Under Quarentine Due to Covid Symptoms

The above process can still be followed, however

  1. The owner must disinfect their lead/tie, harness and any other accessories.
  2. The owner should wear a mask at hand-over, where these are readily available in the area.