Declared a global pandemic by the WHO, Covid-19 officially hit the world in March 2020. It spread across globe causing havoc and forcing people to make big changes to adapt to a new way of life. Dog owners had the challenging responsibility of helping their dog remain happy and healthy while adhering to the recommended social distancing and quarantine advice. Even though most of these restrictions are no longer in practice, a problem that does still arise is whether to or how to walk your dog when you have Covid.
Can dogs get Covid?
There is evidence to show that Covid can spread from people to animals during close contact according to the CDC. Though the risk of animals spreading Covid to people is low, there is some evidence to show that animal fur can act as a carrier in the same way as other surfaces.
What are the current quarantine laws in the UK for persons infected with Covid-19?
The UK Government set out a ‘Living with Covid’ plan earlier this year, stating that people are no longer legally required to self-isolate if tested positive for Covid. They are advised, however, to stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least five full days.
Masks are no longer mandatory or legally required in most public spaces. However, they are required in a healthcare setting such as hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries. Other than some exceptions, no free PCRS and later flow tests (LFD) will be available. Finally, the NHS Covid pass is no longer recognised as a ‘vaccine passport’ within the UK
If you come into contact with someone who has Covid then it is advisable you get an LFD test done, and if negative then you do not need to take any action. If you test positive for Covid-19, then as mentioned stay at home for a few days and limit close contact with other people outside your household, especially in poorly ventilated spaces, and if you do go out wear a face mask. Work from home if possible and generally follow the guidance provided on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of the virus.
What should I do about my dog if I have Covid?
If you should display symptoms or have tested positive, it is advisable you restrict contact with your pets. Avoid sharing food, petting snuggling, being kissed or licked. If you absolutely must touch your dog, thoroughly washing your hands before will help minimise the risk of infecting your pet. If you are lucky to have a fenced in yard area, then you can allow your dog to play there but should naturally avoid dog parks or public places to prevent possibly infecting others. It is best if you do not let your pet interact with other animals outside the household.
If you are feeling the effects of Covid, then it can be helpful to hire someone to spend time with your pet and take them on walks and give them some attention while you recover. It is well known that dogs require plenty of exercise, attention, and mental stimulation to feel happy and secure. If a daily long walk is in their routine, it would be best to try and make sure that this continues as often as possible or else your pup could start to feel restless and anxious.
What do these laws say about walking your dog if you have covid?
According to UK Government guidance if you have tested positive for Covid you should not leave your home to walk your dog and should restrict yourself to your home and garden. As your dog will be having less walks it is important that you include lots of alternate activities to keep your dog mentally stimulated and entertained. However, if you feel that it is not enough then you may have to call on a friend or a family member to help with walks or hire dog walkers who can ensure your pup gets enough exercise during the period you cannot leave your home.
How to walk my dog if I am Covid-19 positive?
As mentioned before you can seek the help of friends and family while taking the necessary precautions as per suggested guidelines. You could also hire the services of a professional dog walker who will know just how to handle your dog properly and ensure they enjoy a long, explorative walk. With a professional walker, you know you can schedule proper walk times and be confident in the knowledge that your pup will get to enjoy their regular walks.
You could also help your dog get enough exercise around your private property to make up for some of the lost walks. Create obstacle courses and encourage your dog to participate with enough encouragement to make it fun and exciting. Play interactive games with your dog so that they are kept mentally alert such as teaching them a new trick or command and hiding kibble around the house for him to sniff and find. All of these steps can be taken without having too much physical contact with your pup.
Hire a dog walking service
Hiring a dog walking service is actually the smartest way to guarantee that your dog gets to go on his/her regular walks without depending on friends and family to free up their schedules. You can plan out the route and duration of the walk. Professional dog walkers will also be clear on the protocols regarding walking dogs whose owners are Covid positive, such as wearing a face mask at all times and keeping the leash slightly longer. They will understand the necessity of seeking out uncrowded routes and areas for your dog to explore.
Finding professional dog walkers is very easy these days, especially thanks to social media and apps such as GoWalkies, which helps to connect dog owners and dog walkers. This platform allows for interaction between the two so that all details can be sorted out before coming to an agreement. It will give you peace of mind to hire a reputed dog walking service because you will know that your dog is in good and safe hands as you recover from the virus.
Ensuring that your four-legged friend is healthy and happy while you recover or isolate is of paramount importance, achievable by making sure they have plenty of mental stimulation and exercise. Hiring a professional dog walker will ease the burden of making sure your dog gets regular walks because you will not have to constantly trouble or depend on family and friends. If you are Covid positive and have a precious pup to consider, look at hiring a professional dog walker so that you do not have to worry about your dog’s wellbeing while you recover.