Walking your dog during lockdown

We certainly are living through some very challenging times at the moment, doing our best to stay at home and keep everyone safe and healthy, including our pets. In thisblog we look at the Government guidelines and what they mean for dog owners.

Can I walk my dog?

Each human is permitted to engage in one form of exercise (not at home) each day.

This means that dog owners can walk their pet once a day, as long as they are feeling well and not showing any symptoms.

If you have more than one person living in a household, your dog can go on a walk with each person – which is great if they are used to more than one walk a day!

Where can I walk?

Guidelines recommend that you should stay as local as possible, making the most of any outdoor space near your home.

Try to avoid other people, and if you do see other people out exercising always stay 2 meters apart.

Dog walking in hills
We don’t think little Peggy is going to bump into anyone up here…

Extra steps…

Wash your hands before your walk and when you return home, take extra care if you have to open any gates that others may have used. Avoid touching any other dogs you might meet out on a walk.

Can I walk my dog if I’m self-isolating?

If you are having to self-isolate (follow Public Health England and the NHS self-isolation guidelines) you are not supposed to leave your house and therefore the dog walking dilemma will present. If you have a private garden you can take your dog there to play games and go to the toilet.

However, it is often said that a tired dog is a happy dog and a daily walk can certainly provide your dog with plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

Is it safe for someone else to walk my dog for me?

Currently whole households with symptomatic people must self isolate so the best scenario is that you can find someone you trust, that doesn’t live with you, to walk your dog or see if a professional dog walker can help. Make sure anyone coming to collect your dog knows in advance that you are self-isolating so they can take the proper precautions.

They won’t be able to come into your house, they’ll need to use their own lead, and they should wipe the dog over with a clean damp cloth or disposable wipe before they touch them.

Keep the handover as brief as possible and make sure you both wash your hands before and after handling the dog. It’s important to maintain a minimum two metre distance at all times.

What can I do to exercise my dog at home?

If you find yourself unable to walk your dog at present don’t despair, there are other ways to keep your dog mentally stimulated and lessen destructive behaviour, such as chewing, due to boredom.

-Play with your dog- most dogs enjoy playing and will love the attention you’re giving them by engaging in a game of tug or fetch.

-Swap the standard food bowl for some meals and give them a challenge by using a Kong toy or a food puzzle. Most dogs are extremely motivated by food and will enjoy food based games.

-Get training and teach your dog a new trick!

-Scent work can keep dogs occupied for ages, hide some treats and send them off to find them.

If you do find that your dog is being exercised less for a period of time, you’ll need to consider how many calories they’re receiving each day.

Trimming back on the food a little may be indicated and certainly fill food puzzles and Kongs from their usual daily ration, rather than adding additional calories. Contact us at Different Dog if you need any advice on feeding amounts and make sure, especially in the case of self isolation, that you have plentiful supplies of food and medication for your best friends.

Can I take my dog to the vet?

We have also chatted with our brilliant vet Alison about what is happening with veterinary practices at the moment.

At the time of writing, and this is under constant review by the British Veterinary Association (BVA), all non essential vet visits must be avoided – this includes adult booster vaccinations and the majority of puppy primary vaccination courses.

The BVA does recognise that there will be a small number of situations in which vaccination will be required such as in shelter situations, naive animals in high risk areas or areas with disease outbreaks.

Vets are exercising their clinical judgement whilst also protecting human health and adhering to the government’s instruction that people must stay at home and only travel if absolutely necessary.

Veterinary practices are currently being advised that they can remain open to focus on emergency care and urgent treatment. Clients must initially phone the vet to make a plan that best meets their dog’s needs whilst adhering to the current social distancing measures.

If you have any questions or would like any feeding advice during this time please get in touch. You can call us on 01743 384562 or email [email protected]