Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Beagle sitting in a field

We understand that the pandemic has been a confusing and concerning time for dog owners, which is why we have compiled the latest advice and information to help you.

Living with dogs during the Covid-19 pandemic

Given the everchanging situation over the past year, we advise you to check the latest guidance for your nation and continually assess your own situation based on this information and where you are in the country:
We have been communicating regularly with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the past year to keep up to date with the latest developments and to gain further clarification on the UK Government’s Covid-19 advice for pet owners.

Take a look at our Covid-19 hub to find out other useful information.

Questions and answers to help you

What precautions should I take with my dog?
You may wish to take extra hygiene precautions. These could include:
  • Avoid your dog licking your face
  • Bathe your dog more often, but be careful not to dry out their skin
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water after touching them and preparing their food
If you have tested positive for the virus or are symptomatic, you should limit physical contact with your dog – as hard as it may be.
I’m due to collect my new puppy. What should I do?

As a priority, we must all be following the relevant Covid-19 Government measures. These vary by nation and we strongly recommend you check the guidance for your area, via the links above, before planning or proceeding with getting or collecting a puppy at this time.

If you are symptomatic or self-isolating, do not collect your puppy. You should arrange an alternative date with the breeder to collect your puppy or send a member of your household who is not self-isolating instead.

You may travel freely across the United Kingdom to collect your new puppy. Handovers may take place either indoors or outdoors, although the number of individuals that can meet indoors varies between nations. As such, we recommend that you check the advice of the nation in which the handover will be taking place.

In England, Wales and Scotland, there are no legal limits on the number of people that can meet both indoors and outdoors. The UK Government and Scottish Government continue to advise that meetings take place outdoors wherever possible. In Wales and Scotland, face coverings continue to be required in public indoor settings, and both administrations continue to advise you to keep a distance from others who are not in your household.

In Northern Ireland, handovers can take place both indoors and outdoors, with the relevant social distancing and hygiene measures followed. Currently, up to ten people from three households can meet indoors in a private setting. Those travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain should adhere to the Executive’s guidance regarding lateral flow testing. New pet travel rules have been introduced, meaning that those travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland with a puppy or dog will have to comply with a number of new requirements. Please note that routine checks at the border will not commence until 1 October 2021 to allow pet owners time to adjust to the new regulations in place.

The Kennel Club and other animal welfare experts have produced further short-term emergency advice specifically for breeders and others involved in pet businesses in England. This includes advice on how to safely transport puppies at this time.

Can I walk my dog?
Yes, you can still walk your dog. We suggest that you assess your situation according to the guidance relevant to your nation or area – in some local areas, for example, the Government has advised that exercise is taken locally wherever possible. You should also follow the guidance relevant to your nation regarding social distancing, and continue to maintain good hand hygiene.

If you are self-isolating and/or symptomatic, it is important that you follow the guidance relevant to wherever you are and do not leave your home for any reason, including walking your dog. If you have a garden you can let your dog out to go to the toilet, exercise and play. If you are self-isolating and do not have a garden, you can ask a friend, relative or professional to exercise your dog for you.
Can someone walk my dog for me if I can't, e.g. if I am self-isolating?

A member of your household can still walk your dog for you if they are not self-isolating or symptomatic.

If you live alone and you are self-isolating/symptomatic, or your whole household is self-isolating, you can ask a friend or relative to take your dog out for you. You should let them know in advance that you are self-isolating and continue to follow the relevant social distancing and hygiene measures advised by your national government when handing over your dog.

There is also support available from various online local community groups and charities, including The Cinnamon Trust – a specialist national charity that helps the elderly to look after their much-loved and much-needed companion animals. They have a network of over 17,000 volunteers all over the UK who help pet owners provide vital loving care for their pets and help keep them together – whether this is through walking dogs or fostering them when their owners are in hospital. During this time of uncertainty, volunteers are on hand to help the elderly or vulnerable that might be in self-isolation or feeling poorly and can’t get out.

The Kennel Club and other animal welfare experts have produced further short-term emergency advice on how to walk someone else’s dog safely.

There’s also advice available from the government about how to safely help others during the pandemic.

What precautions should I take with other people’s dogs?

If you pet a stranger’s dog, remember to clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand gel afterwards or to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds.

Can I take my dog to the vets?

You should always call your veterinarian to discuss the care your dog requires and to arrange the best course of action. Do not leave your house to take your dog to the veterinary practice if you are self-isolating or symptomatic, and be sure to follow both your national government’s guidance and the practice’s requirements for wearing a face mask and maintaining social distance. This will ensure the safety of both yourself, your vet, and others within the practice.

Read advice for pet owners from the British Veterinary Association.

What if my dog needs grooming?

You will be able to take your dog to the groomer depending on whether there are any restrictions in place in your local area. Do not leave home to take your dog to the groomer if you are self-isolating or symptomatic. We suggest that you call your groomer to check that they are operating as normal and to book your appointment.
There is further information and advice for groomers and other pet businesses available from the Canine and Feline Sector Group.

There is further information and advice for groomers and other pet businesses available from the Canine and Feline Sector Group.

How can I get help with training my dog during coronavirus?
Dog training classes are able to go ahead across the whole of the country, although their size and format may look a little different depending on the nation in which you live.

If you are self-isolating or symptomatic, you may be able to find online sessions run by some of The Kennel Club’s Accredited Instructors in which you can get involved.

See the dog training section of our Covid-19 hub to find out more.
What can I do to keep my dog active if I'm self-isolating??
Here are some tips to try indoors or in a garden, if you have one:
  • Play hide and seek with your dog – hiding treats or toys around the house for them to find
  • If you have a garden, let them out to play, run around, sniff and explore
  • Teach your dog new tricks or practice training
  • The Kennel Club has advice and ideas of things to do at home with your dog or puppy – from teaching recall to fun outdoor games


Can dogs catch, get or transmit coronavirus?

The current pandemic is a result of human-to-human transmission and there is no evidence of dog to human transmission. The alleged animal source of virus remains under investigation.

Research suggests that people with Covid-19 can sometimes infect their pets, but this appears to be a rare occurrence. Studies are underway to help us better understand how the infection spreads in animals.

Questions and answers about your dog's health

If dogs aren’t transmitting Covid-19, why are there a small number of cases of dogs positive?
There have been a very small number of reports of pets testing positive for the novel coronavirus following close contact with infected humans. It seems that most do not show any symptoms, but it is possible that some infected pets may develop mild effects. Severe effects are extremely rare.
Can my dog become unwell from Covid-19?
A small handful of pets from around the world have tested positive for Covid-19. It is uncommon for dogs to become unwell from close contact with someone with Covid-19, but infected dogs could develop mild symptoms. Severe effects in pets are extremely rare.

If your dog is unwell, for any reason, then contact your vet to find out what is causing their illness.
Can dogs catch other types of coronavirus?
Coronavirus are a large group of viruses and there are many different types. Most coronaviruses tend to only affect one species and they do not spread between species. This new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) is mainly being passed between humans. There are certain strains of coronavirus that do more commonly affect dogs (such as canine respiratory coronavirus), but these are different from Covid-19 and cannot be passed to humans.
If this new coronavirus originally came from animals should I be worried about my dog?
It is thought that Covid-19 originated in China, but the exact source of the infection is still under investigation. Although it is believed that the virus jumped from an animal to a human, it does not mean that all animals can spread the virus. Currently there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 can be transmitted to humans through dogs.