Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for animal owners

Published: 2 Oct 2020
Last updated: 20 Nov 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 a person at increased medical risk

If you are self-isolating or a person at increased medical risk, 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 self-isolating and have a pet ferret, your ferret should not be walked outside in public, by you or anyone outside your household. Please see self-isolating with ferrets information.

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 a person at increased medical risk. 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. 

Providers of professional pet services

All persons providing professional pet services are strongly recommended to adhere to the Scottish Government’s ‘Staying Safe and Protecting Others’ guidance.

All businesses should be considering, as part of their risk assessment, what other mitigation will be undertaken to reduce the risk of transmission. Our small and micro business guidance provides useful information when undertaking a risk assessment.

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 households or belonging to a person at increased medical risk – these animals should be walked separately
  • keep all dogs in the group on a lead if necessary to avoid contact with other people and any dogs not in the walking group.
  • dogs may be allowed off lead in quiet or remote areas where contact with other people or dogs not in the walking group is unlikely
  • 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

Professional dog grooming

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


First published: 2 Oct 2020 Last updated: 20 Nov 2020 -