THE RSPCA has welcomed new guidance from the Government which will make it easier for people in England to walk and exercise their dogs amid ongoing lockdown restrictions.
Advice for pet owners in England was updated last week and now outlines that people with dogs can go out more often than once a day to exercise their canine companion if necessary.
However, people are still advised to “limit this where possible”.
England has been under a national lockdown since 5 January – and people may only exercise outside the home once a day.
However, the RSPCA says the decision to relax this so pet owners can meet the exercise needs of their dogs locally is a ‘common sense approach’ which avoids discriminating against dogs in single-person households.
Previously, multiple people from the same household could use their daily exercise to walk the same dog – but dogs living with one person were restricted to a single walk a day.
In Wales, where national alert level four restrictions have been in force since December 20 there remains no limit on how often someone may exercise.
However, people must not travel for exercise, including dog walking – which must start and begin from home.
Dr Samantha Gaines, the RSPCA’s head of companion animals, said: “The RSPCA really welcomes this important new guidance for England from the UK Government, which is a common sense approach for dog owners and their pets.
“Under these rules, dog walkers may now go out more than once a day to meet the exercise needs of their dogs. This stops the rules penalising dogs living with one person – and also ensures more consistency with lockdown rules in Wales, where there is no cap on how many times someone may walk their dog. Exercise in Wales must start and stop from the home.
“We all must do our bit to stop coronavirus – so it’s important people understand the restrictions and keep local. Keeping dogs on leads at this time can help ensure social distancing, and will avoid owners unnecessarily coming into contact with one another should a pet need to be retrieved.”