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Covid - 19 Caring for your animals !

(April 28, 2020)

Can I walk my dog?        

The government measures permit one form of exercise a day such as a run, a walk or a cycle, so dog owners, as long as they are well and not showing any symptoms, can walk their pet once a day as part of these exercising guidelines. Households with two or more adults can take it in turns to walk their dog if they usually go more than once a day. When taking your dog out, government advice is to stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily, and avoid others, staying at least two metres (around three steps) away. Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get back from your dog walk.

If you are self-isolating and showing symptoms you are advised not to leave your home for any reason, including walking your dog. If you have a garden you can let your dog out there to go to the toilet, exercise and play.

If you live alone and do not have a garden then you should try and minimise the number of times that you take your dog out.

Anyone who is vulnerable or elderly, with underlying health conditions, should be especially stringent and stay indoors even if they do not show any symptoms.

Can someone walk my dog for me if I can't – for example if I am self-isolating or if I’m a key worker?  

The government measures set out that you can ask a friend or relative to take your dog out for you if you are self-isolating, vulnerable or elderly, but let them know in advance if you are self-isolating and follow government guidelines and social distancing measures when handing over your dog. Always wash your hands before and after handling your dog and ask whoever walks your dog to do so as well. Advice from the Kennel Club and other experts on how specifically to walk someone else’s dog safely during the pandemic can be found here. 

Further government guidelines on how to safely help others during the pandemic can be found here.

I am currently on my own, who can I look for help with my dog at this time?     

A friend or relative may be able to care for your dog for you if you have symptoms, or are vulnerable or elderly, but let them know in advance if you are self-isolating and follow government guidelines when handing over your dog, maintaining social distancing measures. Always wash your hands before and after handling your dog and preparing their food, and ask whoever cares for your dog to do so as well.

There is also support available from various online local community groups and charities, including The Cinnamon Trust - a specialist national charity that helps the elderly to look after their much-loved and much-needed companion animals. They have a network of over 17,000 volunteers all over the UK who help owners provide vital loving care for their pets and help keep them together - be this through walking dogs or fostering when owners might be in hospital. During this time of uncertainty their volunteers are on hand to help the elderly or vulnerable that might be in self-isolation or feeling poorly and can’t get out.

Further government guidelines on how to safely help others during the pandemic can be found here.

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