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Dog owners and coronavirus (Covid-19) FAQs


Last updated: 26 June 2020

Regularly check the latest government advice across EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland and continually assess your own situation based on this information and where you are in the UK.

Can dogs catch or transmit coronavirus?              

The new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) is currently being passed between humans and there is no evidence that it affects dogs, or can be transmitted between dogs and humans.

What precautions should I take with my dog?  

If you have tested positive for the virus, or have symptoms, limit physical contact with your dog – as hard as it may be. Otherwise, if you are feeling well but staying at home and away from others, take extra hygiene precautions; try to avoid your dog licking your face, bath your dog often and regularly wash your hands with soap and water after touching them and preparing their food.

Can I walk my dog?        

The government measures now permit an unlimited amount of exercise a day so dog owners, as long as they are well and not showing any symptoms, can walk their pet as part of these exercising guidelines.

When taking your dog out there may be differing advice between national governments as to whether you should stay local and how far away you must stay away from others. Please check the relevant guidance according to your location via the links at the top of this page.

Always wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get back from your dog walk.

If you are self-isolating and showing symptoms you are advised not to leave your home for any reason, including walking your dog. If you have a garden you can let your dog out there to go to the toilet, exercise and play. If you are self-isolating and you live alone, and do not have a garden, then you should try and minimise the number of times that you take your dog out.

Anyone who is vulnerable or elderly, with underlying health conditions, should be especially stringent.

Can someone walk my dog for me if I can't – for example if I am self-isolating?  

You can ask a friend, relative or dog walker to take your dog out for you if you are self-isolating, vulnerable or elderly, but let them know in advance if you are self-isolating and follow government guidelines and social distancing measures when handing over your dog. Always wash your hands before and after handling your dog and ask whoever walks your dog to do so as well. Advice from the Kennel Club and other experts on how specifically to walk someone else’s dog safely during the pandemic can be found here. 

Further government guidelines on how to safely help others during the pandemic can be found here.

I am currently on my own, who can I look for help with my dog at this time?     

A friend, relative or professional may be able to care for your dog for you if you have symptoms, or are vulnerable or elderly, but let them know in advance if you are self-isolating and follow government guidelines when handing over your dog, maintaining social distancing measures. Always wash your hands before and after handling your dog and preparing their food, and ask whoever cares for your dog to do so as well.

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 owners provide vital loving care for their pets and help keep them together - be this through walking dogs or fostering when owners might be in hospital. During this time of uncertainty their volunteers are on hand to help the elderly or vulnerable that might be in self-isolation or feeling poorly and can’t get out.

Further government guidelines on how to safely help others during the pandemic can be found here.

Is it safe to take my dog to the vets?     

If your pet needs vet care during this period, call your vet in the first instance as they will be able to advise the best course of action. Don’t leave the house to go to your vet if you are self-isolating.

What can I do to keep my dog active?   

Here are some tips to try indoors or in a garden, if you have one:

- try playing hide and seek with your dog - hiding treats or toys around the house for them to find

- if you have a garden you can let them out to play, run around, sniff and explore

- teach your dog a new trick or practise training

Agria, the Kennel Club’s pet insurance company, working with Carolyn Menteith, a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor, have developed some guidance of what dog owners can do with their dogs while in self-isolation. This guidance includes how owners can use the opportunity while self-isolating to improve the bond with their dog, such as interactive games owners can play with their dogs. For further information please click the below links.

https://www.agriapet.co.uk/hub-agria-blog/2020/march/dog-fun-at-home/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCZJP-XM-VA&feature=youtu.be

How can I get help with training my dog during coronavirus?

Many Kennel Club trainers and training clubs are running online sessions that you may be able to get involved in, or small group training sessions outdoors, following government guidelines. To find a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor click here or to find a Dog Training Club click here.

We also have training advice for some issues which may have come about due to lockdown available here.

Can I take my dog to the groomers?

As long as premises are Covid-secure, groomers can operate. Call your usual groomer before visiting and don’t leave your home if you are self-isolating or showing symptoms.

We have also shared some tips from a groomer on how to manage grooming at home here.