We’re facing an unprecedented situation, with millions of people across the world being ordered to stay inside in order to save lives (one fifth of the world is in lockdown, how’s that for solidarity?).
But staying inside isn’t quite so easy when you’ve got a boisterous dog bounding around the house.
So should you take him out for a walk? Or — more importantly — can you?
There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty around at the moment, as everyone tries to figure out what this lockdown entails. We want to make it easy for you and your dog, so we’ve pulled together the key official information and tips for caring for your dog during this difficult period.
This isn’t forever, but the better we follow these rules now, the sooner we can get through it and get back to normal. We can do this together.
You can still go for walks
Although we’ve been advised to stay indoors as much as possible, and to refrain from taking unnecessary trips out, we are all still allowed to leave the house for exercise and to walk our dogs. Keep him cooped up in the house and he’ll go more crazy than you will!
When you take your dog out for a walk, follow the standard social distancing guidelines issued by the government:
- Stay at least 2m away from people at all times,
- Take care when touching things that other people may have touched, and
- Keep your dog from playing with other dogs.
You should also avoid touching other people’s dogs, and stop them from touching yours too. You may need to keep your dog on the leash for your walk if they’re not obedient enough to respond to your commands. Your dog will miss the social activity, but right now it’s safer for everyone to keep them close to you.
When you get home, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly (minimum 20 seconds, using soap, scrubbing in between your fingers and all over) before touching anything else.
You don’t need to stockpile dog food
There’s no need for panic buying. The supermarkets are remaining open throughout the four weeks of lockdown, and have a steady supply of human and dog food, plus all the other goods that you would normally need.
Photos of bare shelves have stoked further panic, but it’s important to understand that there is enough for everyone, but at the current rate people are buying there hasn’t been time for workers to restock the shelves.
Dog food is still available, as is your normal food, and supplies are not running out. Shop as normal, and we’ll get through this together just fine.
The vet will still be open
All essential services will remain open throughout the lockdown, including supermarkets, pharmacies, healthcare providers, and your pet’s healthcare provider — the vet.
At this time however, extra consideration is requested — please call ahead to let the vet know you’re coming in and check if they have any special procedures in place. If you or anyone in your home has experienced sneezing, coughing, fevers, or any of the other symptoms of coronavirus please STAY HOME.
Call your vet to discuss an alternative arrangement if your pet needs urgent help, or wait until you are well and cleared by medical professionals if it’s non-urgent.
You can’t catch Covid-19 from your dog
A topic of great concern to pet owners worldwide has been whether their pets can catch the virus. Although there have been two cases in Hong Kong of dogs testing positive for Covid-19, they have not shown any symptoms and there has been no indication that dogs can carry it and pass it on to humans.
There is no need to distance your dog, or exclude him from your family life. Keep washing your hands, follow the guidelines for walking your dog and keeping social distancing, and give him some games to keep him busy.
Make plans in case you get sick
Who will care for your dog if you become seriously ill? The SPCA has been urging pet owners to make contingency plans for their pets’ care in case they become ill and require hospital care.
Do you have a relative or friend who is able to step in and continue caring for your dog? Do they have the capacity — in physical space and time — to cater for your dog’s needs?
Make sure all your pet’s essentials are taken care of and ready in case this happens, like you would in any emergency. Don’t panic about it, but be prepared.
Nose To Tail is here for you when this is all over
Nose To Tail is looking forward to reopening in May when the lockdown has ended and we’re all safe. We acknowledge that it may be longer than that for things to return to normal, but we’re optimistic and looking forward to seeing all our wonderful customers again soon - two-legged and four-legged!
We’ll let you know via our Facebook page when we’re reopening, so you can bring your dog back in for a good wash, a hydrotherapy session, or to treat him with some new toys. In the meantime, stay safe!