Get in Touch with Clients
1. Reconfirm Bookings.
Immediately and at the beginning of each month, contact all clients who have booked your services over the next month to confirm if they’ll cancel your services or not. Keep in touch with clients in general to remind them your still safely offering services. These are tentative times and it’s ideal to keep each other posted on any changes that may occur on their end or yours.
2. Discuss Your Cancellation/Refund Policies.
Whether you choose to maintain your booking policies or offer exceptions to clients during this pandemic, be sure to inform them so they’re aware and not surprised by any possible changes if they decide to cancel or reschedule services. When issuing refunds, stick to electronic methods (Bank/E-commerce Transfer, PayPal, Venmo, etc.) instead of sending cash/checks as a way to avoid surface-contact.
3. Postpone/Cancel Meet & Greets.
If a potentially new client has requested your services in the far future and you have scheduled a Meet & Greet in the next few weeks, try to reschedule it to a much later date (at least 8 weeks from now) in order to maintain social distancing during this time. If a later date is not an option, consider alternative methods (such as video chatting with Face-Time, Skype, etc.), or simply cancel until further notice.
4. Share Information & Sources.
As Pet Owners, your clients may still need your services but could have concerns over the well being of their animals. Reassure them that COVID-19 cannot transmit to animals and share accurate informational resources with them:
“At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection at this time. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.”CDC
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Pet Sitters International
Take Extra Precautions
1. Maintain Social Distancing.
If you plan to continue offering services, completely avoid interacting with other people outside of work and your home. Contact your clients via messaging (call, email, text, etc.), especially for any changes in their pets care routine. If they wish to show you such changes in person, suggest video chatting instead. If you absolutely need to visit the client for them to show you said changes (such as showing you how to administer new medications), maintain a distance of a few feet and avoid touching them, their pets, or anything in their home during your visit (message them when you arrive so they can open the entrance for you).
2. Stay Healthy & Clean.
As a Pet Care Provider, if you feel sick/ill or even unsafe during this Pandemic, it is highly recommended that you DO NOT perform services at this time, including any staff you may have who feel ill or unsafe to offer services themselves. If you still choose to offer your services over the next few weeks, it is imperative you take the extra steps to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. These steps include but are not limited to:
- Carry a facemask, protective disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant spray or wipes on you as you perform services. Store them in your car or in a bag/purse on your person. Put on your facemask once you leave home to begin your day, and do not remove it until you have completed all services and have returned home.
- Apply hand sanitizer and wear disposable gloves before entering a client’s home. After leaving client’s home, dispose of gloves and apply hand sanitizer again, then spray/wipe down your cellphone to disinfect it. If not applicable, put your cellphone in a ziploc bag before leaving home (do not take it out until you complete all services and have return home) and consistently wash your hands throughout the day.
- Avoid touching any unnecessary surfaces, only the ones you absolutely have to such as your phone, lockboxes, alarm codes, doorknobs, kennel doors, and dog leashes. Limit petting the animals and do not let them lick or touch your face. Though animals cannot become infected, they can still potentially spread germs from their owners through surface-contact.
- Be mindful of animals as you care for them. They can potentially react negatively to a facemask since they don’t see a familiar or friendly face of a person, so remain calm and speak in a soothing voice. For dogs that may jump on you to greet you, wear a long polyester jacket/rain coat that you can quickly wipe down and disinfect after the interaction and make sure they do not lick your face.
- Be mindful of yourself and your protective gear. Absolutely avoid touching your face! If you have long hair put it in a secure ponytail/bun or if you have short hair wear a headband or clip it away from your face before you leave home. Make sure you securely wear long, comfy clothes and sneakers to cover majority of your body (T-shirts, skirts, shorts, sandals, etc. are not recommended).
3. Ask Clients To Do Their Part.
Before they leave for the day or for a long trip, request your clients to clean and disinfect their home before your arrival. Also, kindly ask that they keep their dogs in a small/secluded area before they leave, and for Dog Walks (if safe and applicable) suggest they attach their dogs’ harness and leash themselves, or leave it in an easily accessible spot near the animal, so you can limit surface contact within the home when you arrive.
These are the current tips and suggestions I have for Pet Care Providers. I will add to or edit this post as needed with new information being continuously released during these uncertain times. If any other Pet Care Providers, Pet Owners, or animal lovers have any suggestions or tips they’d like to add to this, let me know!
Stay well, everyone!
— Audrey R.
Last updated May 21st, 2020 at 3:52PM