Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for animal owners

Published: 24 Jul 2020
Last updated: 27 Jul 2020 - see all updates

Advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on looking after the health and welfare of their animals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for animal owners
Dog walking

Dogs

If you do not have symptoms of coronavirus

You can take your dog out as often as needed. When outdoors, you should follow physical distancing and hygiene guidance.

You should also:

  • keep your dog on a lead if necessary to avoid coming into contact with other people and dogs
  • wash your hands when you return home

If you are self-isolating or in the extremely vulnerable group

If you are self-isolating or in the extremely vulnerable (shielding) group, you should not walk your dog outside. Instead, you should ask someone outside your household to walk your dog for you.

The person who walks your dog should avoid coming into your home, and ensure that dogs are kept on a lead to avoid contact with other people and dogs.

If you are walking dogs or caring for pets for someone not able to

You may walk a dog for someone not in your household who is unable to leave their house because they are self-isolating or are being shielded. When doing so, you should:

  • avoid going into their home and wash your hands before and after contact with the dog
  • ensure that dogs are kept on a lead to avoid contact with other people and dogs

Where practical, pets should be cared for away from the person’s home for the isolation period to avoid repeat visits. 

Professional dog walkers

Professional dog walkers must follow the physical distancing and good hygiene guidelines, including:

  • staying 2m away from pet owners at pick up and drop off
  • regular handwashing

If walking dogs in a group:

  • do not include any dogs from self-isolating or shielding housesholds – these animals should be walked separately
  • keep all dogs in the group on a lead to avoid contact with other people and any dogs not in the walking group
  • make your clients aware of this, so they can decide whether they want their dog to be walked separately or as part of the group

Professional dog trainers

Professional dog trainers may offer commercial training, provided the guidance on physical distancing can be adhered to. This would include:

  • remaining at least 2 metres from the owners of dogs under training
  • practicing good hygiene at all times, with regular handwashing both before and after any contact
  • dogs being trained should be kept on a lead to avoid contact with other clients or their dogs

In an outdoor setting, dogs from 4 households may be trained together, and no more than 15 persons may participate in an outdoor training session.

In an indoor setting, dogs from no more than 2 households may be trained together at a time; and no more than 8 persons may participate in an indoor training session.

Professional dog grooming

Professional dog grooming services may be provided as long as the guidance on physical distancing can be followed.

Nobody should meet more than the number of other households permitted per day by the staying safe/physical distancing guidelines.


First published: 24 Jul 2020 Last updated: 27 Jul 2020 -