Dog walking during lockdown: what are the rules?

Lockdown dog walk

How many times a day are you allowed to walk your dog during lockdown? Can you meet up with friends and take your dogs out together?

It’s hard to keep up with the lockdown rules, especially as they vary in the different nations. Here’s a rundown of the current rules on dog walking:

Generally, you may leave your house to walk your dog:

  • by yourself

  • with the people you live with

  • with your support bubble (if you’re legally permitted to form one)

  • or, when on your own in a public outdoor space, with one person from another household

In England, the advice is that you can go out to exercise more than once a day if you need to walk your dog “but should limit this where possible”.

The rules are similar in Wales and Scotland, but there is no limit on how many times you can go out to exercise and owners can take their dog out as often as needed.

However, you shouldn’t travel outside of your local area to exercise, including walking your dog, and exercise in Wales must start and end at the home.

Dog walking

The RSPCA has urged local authorities in England and Wales to ease locally imposed rules on where dogs can be exercised — known as Public Spaces Protection Orders — which often restrict dogs from being walked in certain places.

“This will help ensure adequate provision of local dog walking spots during the lockdown, to help keep people in their immediate communities and prevent unnecessary travel,” the charity said.

While you’re out on your walk, remember to stay 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household or support bubble — and consider putting your dog on a lead to ensure you can stay 2 metres away from others.

If you’re self-isolating, use your garden as a place for your dog to toilet and play. If your dog cannot be exercised at home, you should get someone to walk it for you.

You can also leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment. If your pet is injured, sick or needs to receive urgent treatment, phone the vet to arrange the best way to meet their needs.

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