Everything you need to know about keeping your pet active during Covid-19

As the country enters a new phase of tackling Covid-19 the restrictions in place are now different depending on where you are in the country.

With such varying information it’s understandable that pet owners will have questions around how this applies to them.

How many dog walks are allowed per day? Do cats have to stay inside?

Below, we answer some of the questions pet owners are asking about exercising their pets under current restrictions, wherever you are in the country.

How often can I walk my dog?

The most recent government advice is that you can go out to walk your dog while maintaining social distancing. When walking your dog in areas used by other people, you should consider putting your dog on a lead to ensure you can stay two metres away from others.

You should wash your hands before and after handling your dog.

Under the lockdown restrictions coming into place in England on Thursday 5 November “you should minimise time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.”

Can my cat go outside?

Cats from infected or self-isolating households should be kept indoors as a precaution, and only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons. Contrary to some inaccurate reports in the media, vets are NOT advising that all cats be kept indoors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Find out more here.

Although there is no evidence that pets can play a role in the spread of this disease to humans, it’s always best practice to maintain good hygiene. Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly before and after interacting with them, their food or their belongings. Kissing pets or allowing them to lick your face is not recommended in any circumstances.

Image of a cat and dog standing on the grass for Vets Now article on exercising your pets during the coronavirus outbreak

Can I walk my dog if I have symptoms of coronavirus?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus you and your dog should stay inside for seven days if you live by yourself or 14 days if you live with others. You should not go out to walk your dog. Instead, you should find ways to entertain them indoors. When your dog needs to do the toilet you should take them no further than your garden or right outside your house if you don’t have a garden.

According to the national guidance from the government, someone else from outside your household can walk your dog for you if you are self-isolating or being shielded. They should remember to wash their hands before and after handling your dog and keep two metres away from other people and animals while walking. This includes when collecting and returning them to you.

Can I stroke other dogs?

You should avoid contact with other owners and dogs when walking your dog and you should not stroke other people’s dogs. If you do touch someone else’s dog you should wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.