How long should I walk my dog for? Your questions answered

WE have all seen the memes of dogs trying to hide from their owners set to take them for more 'walkies'.

But just how long should we be walking our dogs for?

After a lockdown was announced nearly three weeks ago and prime minister Boris Johnson urged people to only leave their house for one form of exercise a day, many pooches have been taken for much longer walks than normal.

Here we have taken a look at some of the most common questions about walking your dog with advice from the charity Dogs Trust.

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Can I walk my dog outside?

Healthy people who don’t have symptoms and haven’t received a letter telling them to stay at home, can go outside once a day for exercise, and this should include walking your dog.

If you live in a multi-person household, each member of the house could take it in turns to walk your dog.

It's important to keep two metres apart and avoid situations where your dog might approach and greet other people or dogs.

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This means walking your dog on a lead when in areas with other people.

If you don’t have a garden and need to take your dog out for additional comfort breaks, please stay near your home and ensure you keep your distance from others.

Is it okay for people to pet my dog while we're out for a walk?

Don’t be afraid to ask people not to pet your dog to ensure you keep your distance.

How long should I be walking my dog for?

The PDSA has this rough guide on their website.

A spokesman added: "How much exercise your dog needs depends on their breed, age, health and personality.

"Our diagram below gives a rough guide to how much exercise each breed of dog needs, but every dog is an individual and may be different to other dogs of the same breed (one might love a long walk, while the other prefers running and playtime, for example).

"If you’re unsure on how much exercise your dog needs, it’s best to speak to your vet for advice.

Wirral Globe: Credit: PDSA Credit: PDSA

I need to walk my dog for longer than an hour, what should I do during lockdown?

The Government has advised that each person in the household can go out with the dog once a day.

Government guidelines say you should only be going out once a day and not for long periods to try to limit contact with others.

A Dogs Trust spokesman added: "Your dog will appreciate any time outside, however short.

"Consider how you can keep your dog’s walk interesting.

"You could try mapping out a slightly different route in advance to give your dog a chance to experience new sights and smells.

"A fallen tree, bench or even a bus stop can be made into a fun stop for your dog by getting them to jump over, circle around or just place their paws on them in return for a treat.

"Try giving your dog a different trick or action for them to do at every lamppost, tree, post box, etc, rewarding them with a treat or quick game."

Can I meet my friends and their dogs for a walk?

No. You should only socialise with people you are already living with.

If you see someone you know when you are on your walk, including other dog owners, stay at least two metres apart, avoid petting their dog and wash your hands thoroughly when you get home.

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How do I look after my dog if I’m unwell and self-isolating?

If you are unwell and have no-one else in your household able to look after your dog, contact your friends and family or a neighbour to see if they can help.

If you are self-isolating, you should not go out at all.

It’s a good idea to create a plan in advance for who would be able to walk and feed your dog and take them on comfort breaks should you find yourself unable to do this.

You could try setting up a WhatsApp group to build a connection with other dog owners in your neighbourhood.

This could help you meet other dog owners, who could help to pick up essentials such as picking up dog food on a trip to the supermarket.

If that’s not possible, you might want to contact your local boarding kennels to see if they have space available.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that dogs can catch Covid-19, but Dogs Trust recommends washing your hands before and after feeding, playing with or petting your dog.

For more advice on looking after your dog during coronavirus lockdown, visit theDogs Trust website here

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