Here are the government rules for walking dogs during lockdown and caring for other pets


Covid-19 has seen limitations placed on all of our movement to help slow the virus, but other than the clear advice to stay home, other than visiting the grocery store, pharmacies, and one exercise period per day – what about walking the dog?

Dog owners will know that most dogs need two walks a day, especially those who live somewhere without access to a garden.

What about other pets? Are you allowed to take your cat to the vet or visit your horse in their stables? Can a kennel or cattery take care of your pet if you get sick?

We have put together all of the Scottish Government’s guidelines for you here so that you can take care of your pet with confidence that you are not breaking the coronavirus lockdown rules.

Walk the dog

Walking your dog is one form of exercise people can do every day.

If you stay with other people, you can all take turns walking your dog so that he can walk more than once a day.

Thus, larger households might actually find that their dog is walking more than usual.

The Scottish Government has indicated that it is accepted that dogs may need to be taken out more than once a day if they do not have access to a garden or other toilet area, but you should follow social distancing rules.

All non-essential trips to the vet should be avoided, but if your pet needs treatment you should call the vet before going to see him.

Armored households

For animals in high-risk “protected” homes, the same advice applies: if you have made arrangements for someone else to walk your dog, you must prevent them from entering your home, except in cases of absolute necessity.

Pets in self-insulating homes

What about people with symptoms who need to self-isolate? It’s legal to have someone else walk your dog for you if you isolate yourself.

Strict social distancing should be observed when pets are picked up or returned to avoid approaching within 2 meters of self-isolating people and washing your hands afterward.

You should only enter their home when absolutely necessary and stay there as little as possible.

Dogs in self-isolating households must be kept on a leash and contact avoided with other people and animals if they are walked in public.

There have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming ill with COVID-19 and currently there is no evidence that they play a significant role in this human disease.

When handling and caring for animals, good hygienic measures should always be implemented.

People in self-isolation who are responsible for the care of any animal, including horses and livestock, should ensure that animals continue to be cared for during the period of self-isolation.

Where possible, arrangements should be made in advance with friends, family or neighbors which can be made in case of need.

If you are too sick to take care of your pets and have no one nearby who can help you, for further advice and support please call:

To travel

Traveling to care for animals far from home such as pets, horses in stables or animals in rescue centers counts as an essential trip.

You must respect the distance and wash your hands when you get home. If possible, you should make arrangements to share the care of animals in stables, etc. and minimize the number of people who have to visit you each day.

Can animals infect humans?

There is no evidence that animals are involved in continued transmissions of COVID-19 to humans.

Kennels and catteries

Residential schools and catteries can provide a valuable service in caring for the pets of essential workers and those who become seriously ill and have no one else to care for their pets.

They can remain open for these purposes if they follow social distancing guidelines for their staff and owners when arriving or picking up animals.


Veterinarians will continue to provide emergency services. You should contact your veterinarian before traveling to verify that a visit is essential and their social distancing arrangements at the office.

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