Can I walk my dog if I am self-isolating?

With government guidance being updated and changed regularly, it can be confusing to know exactly what is and what isn’t allowed. While there is plenty of advice for humans, what do we do about our dogs?

There are several reasons why you may need to self-isolate:

  • You may have symptoms of Covid-19 and be waiting for your test result.
  • You may have tested positive.
  • You may have been informed that you’ve been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive.

Whatever the reason, the current guidance is the same – if you are self-isolating, you may not leave your home for any reason.

How to prepare for self-isolation

If you find out you need to self-isolate, it will feel a lot less difficult if you have planned your dog care.

  • Daily walks are essential for a dog’s physical and mental wellbeing, so it’s a great idea to have a friend or family member on standby who can collect your dog from the garden or the doorstep, at a safe distance.
  • Alternatively, you could speak to a local dog-walking service, some of which offer a no-contact service, collecting your dog, using their own leads and other equipment.
  • Your local veterinary practice may also be able to put you in touch with suitable dog walking services.
  • It’s also worth stocking up on some extra dog food and any medication that your dog needs, enough for an additional ten days just in case you do need to self-isolate.
  • If you live in a flat and have no access to private outdoor space, you will need to take your dog out for quick toilet breaks. In this case, wear a mask and gloves, keep the trip out as brief as possible and keep your distance from anyone you see.

Ways to make home time fun

Although you may be stuck at home, you can use this time to try and make it as fun as possible for your dog and enjoy some extra quality time together.

  • Puzzle toys and Kongs are excellent for giving your dog’s brain a bit of a workout
  • If you have a private garden, make as much use of this as possible for exercise
  • Have a look online and find a fun new trick to try and teach your dog while you have this extra time
  • Hide and seek or sniffing games around the home can be really enjoyable for your dog
  • Dig out some of the toys that haven’t been played with for a while, and play together. Games of fetch or tug are usually a favourite.
  • You can even find podcasts and playlists online that are designed to help your dog relax!

Safety first

There’s no evidence to suggest that dogs can become ill from Covid-19, or that they can spread it. That being said, the virus could possibly survive on their fur for a short time, just as it can on many surfaces. There’s no need to wear a mask around your dog (and you should never put a mask on a dog). Continuing to practise good hygiene measures at all times will be sufficient.

So if you do find that you need to self-isolate, try and have fun with your dog and enjoy the extra time together that you might not usually get, and above all, stay safe.