Coronavirus UK: Can you walk your dog while self isolating?

A dog wears a mask over its mouth on a street in Beijing on February
Your poor pup has no idea what’s going on (Picture: AFP via Getty Images Source: AFP)

It’s been a time of massive upheaval, after the outbreak of coronavirus has seen swathes of the population self isolating, social distancing, and – annoyingly – panic buying.

While this is strange enough for us humans, for dogs it’s even more confusing. We can’t exactly let them know why we’re working from home or changing our routines.

One thing you may be wondering is whether you’re still allowed to take them on their daily walks.

The answer isn’t clear cut – especially given that the information we’re being given is changing by the hour. But deciding what to do is based on whether you’re showing symptoms or not.

SHIJIAZHUANG, CHINA - MARCH 06: A woman with her pet dog, both wearing face masks, walks on street amid novel coronavirus spread on March 6, 2020 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province of China. (Photo by Zhai Yujia/China News Service via Getty Images)
The advice is different depending on your situation (Picture: Zhai Yujia/China News Service via Getty Images)

Can you take your dog for a walk if you have no symptoms of COVID-19?

If you have no symptoms of coronavirus, haven’t been to any of the most heavily-affected countries recently, you don’t live with someone who’s showing symptoms and haven’t been in contact with anyone who’s been diagnosed, you are currently not under instruction to self isolate.

We are all, however, being advised to practice social distancing, especially if we’re considered vulnerable.

That means avoiding all non-essential trips and large gatherings including pubs, restaurants, and concerts.

Express yourself. Dogs’ ears are extremely expressive. It’s no wonder! There are more than a dozen separate muscles that control a dog’s ear movements.

If you have underlying health conditions, you should be especially stringent with this and stay indoors even without symptoms, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock said this week: ‘It’s very important that we look out for each other as communities and people do get the exercise that they need.’

Essentially, exercise caution depending on your situation even if you haven’t been told to self isolate, and if you do go outside, stay away from busy areas and stay at least two feet away from other people.

A woman applauds as she hugs a dog, during a flash mob to raise morale during the coronavirus crisis, as the Italian government continues restrictive movement measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak, in Milan, Italy March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Dogs need fresh air like us, but be careful (Picture: REUTERS)

Can you take your dog for a walk if you’re self isolating?

In the same Commons press conference, Matt Hancock also said: ‘People should go outside. Yes, walk your pets, but, if you’re in household isolation, do go outside but try to avoid other people.’

If you are experiencing symptoms and live alone, you should self-isolate for seven days. If you live with other people, the whole household will need to isolate for 14 days.

Isolation means not leaving your home for any reason, or even opening the door to receive a delivery directly. So, no walks.

It may be frustrating for both you and your dog, but our collective safety is more important, and if you can exercise your pups around the house that can suffice for the time being.

Teach Your Dog to Catch Using Popcorn. If your dog doesn’t know how to catch don’t start by throwing a toy at their face. Popcorn works great for training dogs to catch because it’s light & yummy which makes it enticing enough for your dog to try and catch it.

Keeping them stimulated with puzzle toys and plenty of play should help ensure that even dogs that aren’t able to get their usual long walks shouldn’t be climbing the walls.

Thankfully, it’s been debunked that dogs can give us COVID-19 and vice versa , so you’re more than safe to give them all the cuddles – just ideally indoors.

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