12 things all dog owners should do in lockdown

Emma-Louise Pritchard
·4-min read
Photo credit: primeimages - Getty Images
Photo credit: primeimages - Getty Images

From Country Living

During a nationwide lockdown, routines change for both dogs and their owners so it's important to make sure our pets remain healthy and happy during this temporary new normal. We turned to advice from the Dogs Trust on what we should and shouldn't do with our dogs this winter, from walking to washing to indoor games.

Don't let people from outside your household touch your dog

There is no evidence to suggest that dogs can catch or transmit COVID-19. However, the virus could be passed from person-to-person by touching a dog's fur, lead, collar or toys if they have been touched by someone who has the virus. It is important to not let other people pet your dog while you are out walking. Similarly, you should not touch other people's dogs, even if they belong to friends or family.

Don't wash your dog more regularly

This could aggravate their skin so stick to your normal grooming and shampooing routine. You can and should wipe down their lead, collar and accessories.

Learn how to groom your dog at home

Dog groomers will remain open during lockdown but the government emphasises that they should be used for urgent animals welfare needs as opposed to aesthetic reasons. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to groom your dog at home in the video above. It's a lovely way to bond with your pet. If in doubt, call a local dog groomer to ask advice before you begin. Read our full article on how to groom your dog at home here.

Photo credit: alexsokolov - Getty Images
Photo credit: alexsokolov - Getty Images

Keep dogs on the lead if they are likely to run off

To maintain two-metre social distancing, some common walking spots have a rule that all dogs must be kept on leads. In areas where the rule is not in place, you should still consider keeping your dog on a lead if they are likely to run up to other people or dogs.

A harness is comfier than a collar for longer lead walks and you might want to take a few extra treats in case your dog becomes frustrated.

Get them used to masks

Masks can be confusing for dogs because they are so used to being able to read people's facial expression. The Dogs Trust have a brilliant guide on how to get your dog used to masks here.

Limit physical contact with your dog if you test positive

Even if a cuddle from your dog will make you feel better, it is important to isolate yourself as much as possible if you test positive for COVID-19 – and that includes from your dog.

Arrange alternative care or walkers if you need

If you are self-isolating or have tested positive and can't look after your dog, arrange for a friend or family member to look after them temporarily.

Dogs Trust say: "You should clean and disinfect anything you touch, including leads, harnesses, vehicles and door handles, and wash your hands before and afterwards. Make up a spare walking pack with poo bags, treats and toys for your dog walker to hold on to, so you don’t need to give them everything each time."

Use a professional dog walker if you need

Professional dog walkers can still work during lockdown but they have been asked to prioritise key workers and those who are shielding or vulnerable.

Photo credit: Hero Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Hero Images - Getty Images

Only walk your dog locally

Lockdown restrictions mean that owners shouldn't travel more than five miles to exercise.

Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise

Lots of dog breeds need to be walked for over an hour a day to meet their exercise requirements – see our list below. Make sure you research how much exercise your dog needs. The PDSA recommends splitting the walk into several shorter sessions throughout the day so your dog doesn't get too tired. This would also enable one member of your household to go out with the dog at a time. If you live alone, perhaps your support bubble could help with walking.

Walk for one hour a day (on top of playtime)

  1. Staffordshire bull terrier

  2. Border terrier Bull terrier

  3. Saint Bernard

  4. Bassett hound

  5. Dogue de Bordeaux

  6. Tibetan terrier

  7. West Highland terrier

  8. Whippet

  9. Pug

  10. Cairn terrier

  11. Cocker spaniel

  12. Miniature schnauzer

  13. Miniature or toy poodle

  14. Shetland sheepdog

  15. English bulldog

  16. Shih tzu

  17. Beagle Greyhound

  18. Lhasa Apso

Walk for two hours a day (on top of playtime)

  1. Siberian husky

  2. Golden retriever

  3. Samoyed

  4. Alaskan malamute

  5. Border collie

  6. Boxer

  7. Dalmatian

  8. English springer spaniel

  9. German shepherd

  10. Labrador retriever

  11. Weimaraner

  12. Irish setter

  13. Rhodesian ridgeback

  14. Australian shepherd

Play indoor games

Another way to get exercise is to keep them busy and active with some games. Here's our round up of 8 DIY dog games using empty cardboard boxes and toilet paper tubes, great for indoors or in the garden.

Keep your dog warm on wintery walks

Us humans wouldn't go out without a coat, hat and gloves on the coldest of days of winter so we need to make sure our pets are just as protected. Here are a few suggestions:

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