Doggy care during the Coronavirus crisis

Read our practical guide on how to care for your dog if you have to self-isolate due to you or a member of your household having the Coronavirus pandemic.

The fears and uncertainty about Coronavirus – or Covid-19 – has changed how we live our daily lives. The UK government and health authorities are issuing lots of advice about caring for the young and old, loved ones, family, friends and neighbours who may be at risk or have contracted the virus.  But what about our beloved canine companions? 

The good news is that there’s no evidence to suggest that dogs are carriers of Coronavirus or can become ill from the virus. However, if you or any members of your family test positive or are asked to stay at home and self-isolate, you will have to make significant changes to the daily care of your dog.  

Firstly and most importantly – do not panic. There is no need to rehome your dog whether you’re in isolation for a week or even several months. There are lots of simple ways to exercise and take care of your four-legged best friend – even when you can’t leave the house.

If you are self-isolating, even your deserted local park and quiet favourite beach will be off limits for your daily walk  – you won’t be able to take your dog beyond your garden for exercise. 

But there are lots of ways to keep your dog happy and healthy within the four walls of your own home…

Top 5 tips for keeping dogs happy without their walkies 

Like humans, dogs get bored too! Mental stimulation is a great alternative to the great outdoors to keep your dog entertained. Keep your dog happy by replacing country walks with inside activities until you are able to take him out to run, splash, swim and chase sticks at his favourite spot.

  1. Tea-time challenge – swap the regular food bowl for a Kong or a food puzzle to keep them stimulated. 
  2. Playtime – fetch or tug with your pooch is a good alternative to walkies! 
  3. New tricks – learning a new command is great mental stimulation for a dog. Try teaching how to wave his paw, ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, or ‘roll-over’ and reward with his favourite treat.
  4. Sniff and seek – Get him sniffing by hiding treats around the house or garden – it will keep them occupied for ages. And give them chance for a toilet break!
  5. Soothing sounds – Spotify has launched ‘My Dog’s Favourite Podcast‘ which has a range of spoken word, sound and music designed to encourage canine relaxation.

If you are concerned about your pet’s health during self-isolation call your vet for advice. 

What should I do if I haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate?

  1. If you haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate then continue to interact with your dog as normal but wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching them, their food, toys and bedding.
  2. Avoid being kissed or licked and sharing food with your dog.  
  3. Ensure you have sufficient supplies of pet food in case of future self-isolation.