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Coronavirus lockdown rules on walking your dog

Social distancing laws and what they mean for dog walkers

New powers to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives have now come into force in Wales. 

The new laws around social distancing apply to all individuals, including when walking your dog.

People are only permitted to leave their homes for the following reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities and supplies, which should be as infrequently as possible;
  • One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of their household;
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where they cannot reasonably practicably work from home.

People should stay at least 2m away from each other at all times.

Participating in gatherings of more than two people in public spaces is also not permitted except in very limited circumstances, for example, where it is for essential work purposes. The police will have powers to enforce this.

If people do not comply with these new laws:

  • They can be directed to return home or removed from where they are and returned home
  • They may have to pay a fixed penalty notice of £30, which if not paid within 14 days will double to £60, and if they are issued with a second or subsequent notice the charge will be £120

The Government has since announced further guidance for those looking to walk their dogs during the UK lockdown.

It is said that all of the above laws and guidance applies when walking your dog, so beware, you could be subjected to a fine if you are not 2m away from other people.

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Can you walk your dog?

You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with walking your dog. In doing so, it is important that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside of your household.

All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you may take them, but must remember to wash your hands and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. You must call the vet before going to see them.

If you have symptoms

If your dog cannot exercise at home, you should ask someone outside of your household to walk your dog for you.

All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you must phone the vet to arrange the best approach to meet your pets’ needs.

Walking someone else’s dog?

You may also leave your house to provide care or help a vulnerable person. This includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self isolating or being shielded.

You should remember to 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.

What about cat owners?

Only general guidance has been issued for cat owners and that is that you should always wash your hands before and after any contact with your cat.

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