Dog walking during lockdown: What are the rules?

Dog walking during lockdown: What are the rules?

In the UK, we are currently in the midst of a third national lockdown but it feels like many of us are in an endless lockdown.

For those of us with dogs, we have been fortunate enough to be able to take them outside for long walks and fresh air throughout the last couple of lockdowns.

The latest lockdown is one of the toughest yet as cases continue to rise even with a vaccine on the horizon. Those who have broken lockdown rules have been hit with fines. However, despite the tough rules, people can still go out and get exercise, with or without a dog.

If you have a dog, 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

This is covered by the exemptions for animal welfare and exercise.

Although the government generally advises you should exercise once a day, you can go out more often if you need to walk your dog but should limit this where possible.

Furthermore, the government advises you should stay 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household or support bubble.

“When walking your dog in areas used by other people, you should consider putting your dog on a lead to ensure you can stay 2 metres away from others,” the guidelines state. “You should wash your hands before and after handling your dog.”

A woman takes her dog for a walk (Photo by Samson Katt from Pexels)

If you’re walking dogs on behalf of someone not able to

You may walk a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self-isolating.

You should wash your hands before and after handling the dog and keep 2 metres away from other people and animals, including when handing over the dog to the owner.

If you are self-isolating

If your dog cannot be exercised at home, you should ask someone outside of your household or support bubble to walk your dog for you, or access walking services provided by a professional.

You should notify anyone walking your dog on your behalf in advance that you’re self-isolating and arrange a no-contact service where possible.

You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

A woman exercises with her dog (Photo by Sam Lion from Pexels)

For those without a dog, you can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.You should maintain social distancing.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household

This includes but is not limited to running, cycling, walking, and swimming. Personal training can continue if participants are from the same household or support bubble. It can also continue if it is one-one-one, although this should only take place in a public outdoor place, and not in someone’s private home or garden.

For more on the lockdown rules for those with animals, click here. For more on what you can and cannot do during the national lockdown, click here.

 

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