Any dog owner can spot the telltale signs: pricked-up ears, wagging tail, hopping impatiently around the front door. Yes, that’s right, it’s time for walkies.
It’s undeniably the highlight of a dog’s day. However, during these difficult times, the pleasures of your daily dog walk may now be restricted as the novel coronavirus takes hold around the globe.
The UK is officially on lockdown and the government have announced that you can only leave the house if it’s absolutely essential. For your dog, essential comes in the form of chasing birds and launching himself into muddy puddles (much to his owner’s dismay).
So, what do these new rules mean for your daily dog walking routine? For the sick and the elderly, walking their pooch may be off limits entirely as people are encouraged to protect themselves through self-isolation.
Fortunately, there are dog-walking companies, like Cumbria-based ‘Ruff and Reddy’, that are offering their services to the most vulnerable of people for free. Not only does this relieve people of their duty to walk their dogs, but it also ensures that their pets get the exercise they need.
For those at a lesser risk and showing no symptoms of the coronavirus, new rules state that you can leave your home once a day for exercise. So, let’s make the most of it and stay as safe as possible.
At UKPets, we have some practical tips to keep you and your dog safe whilst out on your walk.
- Stay at least two metres apart from other people you see outside, and keep your dog on its lead at all times. Although this stops your pooch from sprinting around their favourite fields, it prevents any unnecessary contact with other dogs and their owners who may, unknowingly, be carrying the virus.
- Prevent your dog from picking up anything they find during your walk, whether it’s a stick, household bin bags, or abandoned toys. Chances are, somebody who is infected may have previously handled the stick that your dog has cheerily acquired. Lower your risk of infection by restricting what your dog comes into contact with as much as possible.
- As tempting as it may be, avoid petting other people’s dogs for the time being. According to the BBC, ‘Covid-19 can be spread in tiny droplets from the nose or mouth of an infected person.’ These droplets are extremely contagious and linger on objects and surfaces that are seemingly harmless. This includes a dog’s coat, so keep your distance for now.
- You can’t avoid touching everything whilst out and about (sadly, coming into contact with the dog waste bin is inevitable). Ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly when you return home—about two minutes with soap and water should do the trick. Give your dog a brush whilst you’re at it to be certain the virus isn’t hanging onto their coat.
By following these tips and taking necessary precautions, you can keep some semblance of your dog walking routine and provide them with the exercise and stimulation they need without putting yourself or your family at risk.