Coronavirus safety protocols (234)

COVID-19 safety protocols

During the pandemic, we have made some modifications to our normal operations. Note that not all our services are available during this time.

Our responsibilities

  • Maintain a safe space for dogs to socialize and play. We know that dogs are not a risk to spread COVID-19 to humans or vice-versa, since it is human-to-human transmission by airborne spread. 
  • Limited interactions to avoid risk of exposure. Our front desk staff works from home now to answer emails, and our pack-handlers handle check-ins/outs. Check-ins/outs are a quick handoff, and we’ll answer any questions by email rather than in-person.
  • No daycare or boarding walks, or home pick-up or drop-off. We will not be providing these services as long as the pandemic is still a threat.
  • Modified boarding. Boarding is available based on demand, and there may be some days that we don’t have staff on-site during boarding visits. Instead of sleeping together, dogs will be isolated in separate closed-off areas of the dog run, or crated overnight. We will still be able to watch them via our internal live videos.
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest from the CDC and the WHO. We have been keeping tabs on what the top health organizations recommend. You can read in-depth about it below. 
  • Wear a mask, or other face covering, when on site.

Your responsibilities

  • Be patient 🙂 As we continue to figure things out, we may continue to make changes to our standard protocols. We ask for your understanding during these unprecedented times.
  • No chit-chat at check-in/out. Please email any questions — our pack-handling staff is there to take care of the dogs, and we want to reduce time spent talking amongst each other.
  • As always, label your dog’s meals. Normally we have front desk staff on site to verify all the details of your dog’s visit, but since they are working from home, we ask now more than ever that you clearly label your dog’s meals with your dog’s name and what meal it is (breakfast, lunch, or dinner).
  • Monitor your own health. If you have any signs of illness, or you or your pup have been around anyone with signs of Coronavirus in the last 14 days, do not come in. We will maintain the same rule for our team also.
  • Wear a mask, or other face covering, at check-in and check-out.

Check in/out protocols

Note on WHO and CDC pet recommendations

We are monitoring the various recommendations from health authorities about pet safety during the pandemic. The WHO has been actively studying the few cases of animal infections around the world in a holistic way for several months, including reports of a few dogs infected in Hong Kong in early March. See here, including the details of the cases they have been following at the bottom of the page.

Based on their studies, the WHO’s headline recommendation (from the same link above, recent as of 5/8) is: “The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. To date, there is no evidence that companion animals play a significant a role in spreading the disease. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.”

On the same page, the WHO do also make the following targeted recommendation: “Animals belonging to owners infected with COVID-19 should be kept indoors as much as possible and contact with those pets should be avoided as much as possible.” Our approach from the start has been further than this WHO recommendation, prohibiting any pup that has been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (whether confirmed COVID-19 or not) in the last 14 days.

As for the CDC, they are recommending all pets be isolated from outside people and animals. However, they also note that “at this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” See here.

At Happy Dogs, we recognize — and remind our members — that dogs being together always carry certain risks, whether from injuries or transmittable diseases like kennel cough or unknown new diseases. Based on the WHO studies and recommendations about COVID-19, and the fact that the CDC agrees there is no current evidence of significant risk, we don’t believe there is a substantial additional risk for our pups being together at this time.

That is our view but each member must ultimately decide for themselves and their dogs. With a disease as new as COVID-19, nothing is 100% sure, and we ask all our members to make their own risk assessment and weigh for themselves the importance of socializing to their dog’s welfare at this time.