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Coronavirus Kent: Dog owners told they can still walk pets during lockdown

The Prime Minister put the country in lockdown last night to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In an address to the nation, he said people will be permitted to take one form of exercise a day - such as walking, running or cycling.

Dog walkers will be pleased to know they can still walk their pets. Stock image
Dog walkers will be pleased to know they can still walk their pets. Stock image

Dog walkers will be pleased to know they can still walk their pets.

Here is everything you need to know about walking your pooch...

Can I walk my dog?

The PM said people will be permitted to take one form of exercise a day. This will mean dog walkers can only leave their home once a day - as long as you stay two metres apart from other people.

But if there are two or more adults in a household, they can take take turns to walk their pet.

If you are self-isolating at home because you or someone you live with is displaying symptoms of coronavirus, then the RSPCA has advised owners to use their garden as a place for toilet and play.

The charity has also said they can ask a friend or relative to help walk their dog.

But if this is not possible, a dog walker or boarder may be able to help.

Can I go to the park?

Yes. Communal play and exercise areas inside parks are closed but parks themselves will remain open.

If you are self-isolating at home because you or someone you live with is displaying symptoms of coronavirus, then the RSPCA has advised owners to use their garden as a place for toilet and play. Stock image
If you are self-isolating at home because you or someone you live with is displaying symptoms of coronavirus, then the RSPCA has advised owners to use their garden as a place for toilet and play. Stock image

Remember to keep your distance from other park users.

If I am self-isolating, should I cuddle my dog?

There is currently no evidence to suggest dogs can be infected with Covid-19.

But the RSPCA has advised owners to wash their hands after interacting with their pets, and avoid being kissed or licked, and not to share food with them.

The charity has recommended another member of their household must take care of your dog. But if you do have to look after it, it says you must wash your hands before and after interaction and wear a facemask.

How can I play with my dog indoors?

If you cannot get out of the house, the RSPCA's animal welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines says there are many ways to keep your dog happy.

"Mental stimulation is a great way to keep your dog entertained and occupied so you can keep your dog happy by replacing exercise with other activities until you are able to take them back out for their usual walks," she states on the charity's website.

"Try challenging your pooch at tea time - ditch the food bowl and feed Fido using a Kong or a food puzzle to get them thinking.

"Most dogs love to play so set aside some time to have a good game of fetch or tug with your pooch.

There is currently no evidence to suggest dogs can be infected with COVID-19. Stock image
There is currently no evidence to suggest dogs can be infected with COVID-19. Stock image

"Learning a new trick or command is great mental stimulation for a dog. Get out their favourite treats and try teaching your dog how to wave his paw, 'sit', 'lie down' or 'roll-over'.

"Scent work can be a great way to keep them busy for ages. Hide treats around the garden or around the house and send them off in search of them."

She also recommended Spotify's 'My Dog's Favourite Podcast' which has a range of carefully selected spoken word, sound and original music designed to encourage relaxation.

Should I walk my dog on a lead?

You can still let your dog off the lead.

But volunteers who search for missing dogs have recommended owners keep their pooches on the lead.

One of them, Yasimin Djemal from Sturry, said: "Obviously with the lockdown, we can’t look for other dogs.

"So if any go missing, there is very little any of us volunteers can do and that is across the country.

"We are asking people to consider keeping their dogs on the lead. I know a lot people will want to take their dogs to Reculver or Whitstable Beach and let their dogs off.

"But if they were to spook, even if they are the most well-trained dog, they can spook."

She suggests doing basic training while the dog is on the lead, or setting up a small agility course or scavenger hunt in the garden.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here

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