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How To Care For Your Dog During The COVID-19 Crisis

Updated: Jan 30, 2022


Dog and cat in isolation

Covid-19 has shook up the world in such a dramatic, unprecedented fashion. As much as an impact it’s having on us, our dogs are feeling the effects too. For everyone self-isolating, things like food shopping or taking your dog for a walk suddenly become more complicated. We can’t go to puppy meetings up, visit the groomers or go on organised dog walks for the foreseeable future. This is upsetting; however, things will improve in the long term so let’s stick together and stay strong!

We’ve tried to answer some questions you may have about your dog during the Corona pandemic and how you can keep them happy and safe during this time. If there’s something we’ve failed to cover, leave your question in the comments below.

teaching dog new trick outside in garden
Credit: AKC

How to keep your dog mentally stimulated?

Its very important your pup is mentally stimulated throughout the day; dogs can often act out or misbehave if they are bored or not getting enough attention. Some simple activities to keep your dog entertained could include a game we like to play called ‘sniff work’. This would entail hiding treats around your house and getting your dog to smell it out. As simple as it is, it’s effective and your dog could be entertained for hours! Another game we encourage is teaching your dog a new trick. This will require a lot of patience from yourself, but this is greatest way to keep your dog stimulated during lockdown.

Dog playing in garden
Source: Dogtime

What can I do to keep my dog active?

As the Government has outlined, we are now limited to 1 hour of outdoor exercise per day, following social distancing rules. If your living in a household with more than 2 people, you can take advantage of this and walk your dog per family member.

This is something we’d recommend with caution, and the safest option would be to exercise your dog in the garden (if you have one) and play there. We can appreciate, not everyone will have a garden or one adequate to cater for a dog running around in but this is the safest place as you won’t be interacting with anyone else to put your yourself and others at risk.

Can I visit the vets if my dogs ill?

Government advice is to stay at home and avoid others unless absolutely necessary, so if your pet needs medical care during this period, call your vet in the first instance to seek options.

Dogs sniffing each other out on walks

Should you touch other dogs/pets when outdoors?

Its best not to get too close to other people’s dogs whilst on walks and we’d advise against stroking/petting other dogs. Reason being is, the virus can stay on various surfaces for a number of days and this could include dogs’ fur. Dogs could be potential carriers of the virus so remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water after you’ve been in contact

Can dogs catch COVID-19?

According to veterinaryrecord there have been isolated cases of dogs testing positive for the virus in Hong Kong. For example, In the report it highlights the case of a 17-year-old Pomeranian dog where the owner had tested positive for Covid-19 and the dog was showing some symptoms. It is important to note that the dog had various medical test which came back negative. This would suggest the virus was unable to grow even when the best possible medium was provided.

The dog never showed any relevant clinical signs, so it is extremely difficult to identify whether the dog had COVID-19 or something similar such as respiratory problems. It is most probably that dogs cannot catch the Corona virus, but we can appreciate there can always be exceptions and more case studies need to be conducted before real evidence is gathered.

girl hugging black dog

How will dogs adjust when things go back to normal?

When things return to normal our dogs will be re-introduced back into their normal routine. Which for the most part, I can imagine, will involve your pup spending more time on their own and less time in human company. Initially your dog may become needy and demand more attention because whilst in isolation, they will have spent more time with you.

I think it’s important to stay firm with your doggy and if possible, slowly decrease the amount of time you spend with your dog over a gradual period. Doing this too quickly could be detrimental to your relationship and your dog could develop separation anxiety.


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