Update 22 May 2020: Dog owners are reminded to keep their dogs on leads at all times whilst visiting uplands to avoid disturbing endangered ground nesting birds and livestock. Read more.
As at 9 April 2020 the Chief Vet and Director of Public Health provide the following advice for dog and other pet owners
We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people, although very occasionally infected humans may transmit the virus to pets. There have been isolated reports of spread of COVID-19 to single dogs and one cat by infected owners, and more recently it has been reported thata tiger at a zoo in New York City has tested positive having contracted it from a keeper.
Just as other surfaces can carry the virus from one place to another, pets in theory could be a carrier of the virus on their fur for short periods of time. In line with the general advice on COVID-19 therefore, you should wash your hands regularly including before and after you come into contact with animals and pets.
Dog care advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus
Walking your own dog
You may leave your house to exercise, provided that you adhere to social distancing guidelines, and you can therefore also walk your dog.
Dogs should be kept under control at all times to enable social distancing when in public. This means dogs should be kept on a lead unless they are well trained.
Walking dogs on behalf of someone not able to
You may also leave your house to provide care or help for a vulnerable person. This includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self-isolating or in quarantine.
You must wash your hands before and after handling the dog and keep 2 metres away from other people and animals, including when receiving and handing over the dog to the owner.
If you need a vet to attend your pet
All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment you should phone the vet to arrange the best approach to meet your pets’ needs.
You may take them if agreed with your vet, but must remember to wash your hands and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside your household.
Dog care advice if you have symptoms of coronavirus, are self-isolating or in quarantine and cannot attend to your animals
It is recommended that you make the necessary preparations for the essential care of your animals should you and your household have to isolate and are not permitted to leave the house. For example, establish who can deliver pet food / medicine and who can exercise or care for your animals if you are not able to.