Government lockdown guidance says that people should exercise outside their home once a day – but what about dogs?
Outdoor exercise is one of the permitted reasons people can go leave their homes during England’s third coronavirus lockdown, but the guidance states that people should only do so once a day while the regulations are in place.
While many dog owners will combine their daily exercise with walking their four-legged friend, there are dogs which need more exercise than one stroll a day, and there are dog owners who may wish to work out without their pet.
Some popular breeds – including Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, Boxers, English Springer Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds – generally require around two hours of exercise every a day, while all dogs benefit from their daily exercise being “split into several shorter sessions over the day” according to veterinary charity PDSA.
Many choose to split dogs’ daily exercise into two or more shorter walks at different times in the day as it is easier for them and better for their pet. It also offers dogs plenty of opportunities to do their business.
Lockdown means we must all make sacrifices, but the guidance does throw a bone to dog owners whose pets need plenty of exercise and those who want to be able to work out without their pet and still take it for the walks it needs.
How often can I walk my dog in lockdown? Can I walk it twice a day, or more?
The lockdown guidance allows dog owners to leave their home to walk pets more than once a day.
While the ‘exercising‘ guidance states outdoor exercise for humans should be “limited to once a day”, the ‘travel‘ guidance states that it is ok for people to leave their home to “attend the exercise of an animal”.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson confirmed that the guidance allows for dog owners to leave their homes more than once a day to exercise a pet, but added that people should minimise the time they spend outside their home.
In a nutshell, if your dog needs more than one walk a day, it is ok to take it out more than once. If you have already left home to exercise, you can still take your dog for a walk or walks on the same day if that is what your dog needs.
Can I drive to the countryside, a park or a beach to walk my dog?
You shouldn’t leave your immediate area unless you have a permitted reason to do, so dog owners should stick to walking their pets near to where they live. Don’t get in the car and drive for miles to a beauty spot just to walk your dog.
The lockdown guidelines state: “You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.”