Coronavirus in Dogs

It is important to note that evidence of pets contracting Covid 19 from their owners remains extremely rare, with only a few cases reported globally. The risk of human to animal infection is also very small. However, the virus could be passed from person to person via surfaces such as a dog’s fur, collar or lead. We have compiled below some general advice to help keep you and your pets as safe as possible.

What to do if you need to self-isolate

First and foremost, there are lots of things you can do to ensure your Hound is as safe as possible, so don’t panic. If at all possible, arrange for another person to care for your dog, until you are able to return to normal. Always adopt good hygiene practices, which includes washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching your dog, or their food, toys or bedding. You won’t be able to take your dog beyond your house or garden for exercise, however, there are lots of ways to keep your dog happy and healthy without going for walks by replacing exercise with other activities such as playing with them or trying to teach them a new trick. Remember your dog will still need to go outside to use the toilet so make sure they get regular access to the garden, or just outside your house, to go to the toilet.

If your dog cannot exercise at home, you should ask someone outside of your household to walk your dog for you. If you have any worries about your pet’s health during self-isolation call your vet for advice, but do not visit the surgery in person.

As a precaution you should ensure that you have a good supply of your Hound’s food and medication in case you are required to self-isolate.

What to do if you display coronavirus symptoms or are contacted by the NHS Track and Trace team

If you or someone in your household or social bubble displays Covid 19 symptoms, or you are notified by the NHS Track and Trace team that you have come in to contact with someone with suspected Coronavirus, you will need to self-isolate. Where possible, restrict contact with your dog as a precautionary measure, and avoid petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, or sharing food. If you do need to interact with your dog, wash your hands before and after any interaction with them.

Walking Someone Else’s Dog

You should only be walking someone else’s dog if, due to their individual circumstances, they are unable to do so themselves. This includes people who are key workers (NHS staff or similar), shielded (at particular risk from Coronavirus) or the vulnerable and over 70s, or people from a self-isolating household confirmed or suspected of having coronavirus.

  • Consider each individual situation and how to safeguard the person you are assisting.
  • Agree the process in advance including time and duration of walk.
  • Walk the dog in the surrounding area of the owner’s home and ideally on a lead. You should avoid driving to another location to walk.
  • Find a way to collect and return the dog securely, in a way which maintains at least one metre distance between you and minimises any time spent in the owner’s home.
  • Never walk dogs from different households at the same time.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water before leaving your home.
  • Wear gloves for the duration of any contact and dispose of them after use.
  • Use a different lead to the owner’s.
  • Ask someone from the household to open and close the doors for you.
  • Don’t handle anything else, such as your phone for example, during any time of contact.
  • Where possible, minimise touching the dog.
  • Maintain your social distance while walking, keep to quiet areas and don’t allow other people or pets to come into contact with the dog.
  • Wash the lead with soap and water once the dog has been returned.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water as soon as you get home.

When walking a shielded person’s dog, it is especially important to protect their health:

  • Avoid any contact with the occupants of the home and maintain at least one metre distance.
  • Keep the dog on a lead to avoid them coming into contact with anyone or other pets.
  • Wipe the dog with a pet friendly disposable wipe or clean, damp cloth before returning to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to the owner.

When walking a dog from a household where people have, or are suspected of having, Coronavirus, it is especially important to protect yourself and others:

  • Avoid any contact with the occupants of the home and maintain at least one metre distance.
  • Wipe the dog with a pet friendly disposable wipe or clean, damp cloth before the walk.
  • Keep the dog on a lead to avoid pets and other people touching them in case the virus is on their fur.
  • Take care when cleaning up after them; use a sturdy poo bag and dispose of it as soon as possible.


This advice is not intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive, all cases and combinations of coronavirus and personal circumstances will be different. This general advice is intended to provide a few common sense guidelines to consider in the event that you, or someone you know, contracts coronavirus and you need to care for a dog. Stay safe everyone.