Even though we are all worried about what’s going on, it’s important for both our four-legged friends and ourselves to exercise, and ideally getting some fresh air as well.  

 Among things to mention are continuity and care. Having a good routine (such as a daily walk) can really help and taking care of yourself (and your pets of course) is important for both your mind and body.   

The current advice by the Prime Minister (on evening of 23rd March) is that we are still allowed to go out for exercise once daily, for the same length of time that we would normally do. We can only go by ourselves or with someone else in the same household. 

If you can safely do so, go for a walk with your dog, and keep a minimum of 2 meters distance to anyone else. While out and about be mindful of what you would normally touch, such as a gate or other people’s pets and give that a miss – for now. Avoid touching your face and wash your hands as soon as you arrive back home.  

Can I drive to somewhere quiet to walk my dog?

There’s been a lot of confusion over whether it’s possible to get in the car to drive somewhere quiet in order to walk a dog.

The government’s own guidelines don’t (as at the time of writing) expressly forbid this. It says to avoid this, but that leaves room for interpretation. This has led to scenes of hundreds of people congregating in parks and commons, which is obviously not what anyone wants.

Many local police forces are now saying that they will stop and question people they see driving to such places, and they’ve also closed off many green spaces to stop people driving there.

The only thing that’s clear is that these are extraordinary times, and you should check daily to see what advice is currently being given by both the government and your local police.

Use the garden

If going for a walk isn’t an option spending some time in the garden can be a good second choice, and as it seems Spring has arrived it may be worth doing just that for as long as the sunshine lasts. 

Playing games with your dog (if he likes games) can also help with boredom and provide some exercise and mental stimulation. You can use small bits of food to make a scent trail around the garden. Or hide food inside their Kong. Try and teach them a new command. Just a few ideas to keep them stimulated whilst isolating…

Maja Redfern

Maja is clinical director at Dignipets. A mobile veterinary practice that offers palliative and end of life care for every pet in need in the West Midlands. Having completed a certification programme in hospice and palliative care in 2017 Maja advises colleagues and referring practices on pain management for their most difficult geriatric cases. She is a dedicated pet owner (two dogs and three cats) and has developed a reputation amongst wanderers and strays for being the go-to person when lost.