Dogs and Coronavirus (Covid 19)
These are very trying times for people and their pets. It is not always clear how we are to handle and care for ourselves, our families, and our dogs. I have written this article to try and clarify what you can and cannot do, and what the pitfalls of owning a dog or a puppy during this evil pandemic entails? There are scammers out there and new rules and regulations. It appears local councils and officials seem to have misunderstood what the Government have stipulated. I believe dog owners have been singled out as the bad guys, and rule-breakers both us and our dogs are being castigated.
Safe Rather Than Sorry:
Currently, there is no evidence that dogs are affected in any way by the Coronavirus, or that they are able to transmit the virus to humans
Having said that, as with any surface, if someone with the virus touches, sneezes, or coughs on a dog, then the virus may contaminate their fur allowing it to pass on to someone else if the dog is stroked or petted and they subsequently touch their face.
We currently have no science or information regarding how long the virus can last on hair or fur, it is, therefore, best to be safe rather than sorry.
During this time you should maintain good hygiene practices and social distancing. Bath your dog often and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot water before and after you handle your dogs: Unfortunately, we do not know if giving your dog a good swim in the hot weather will remove any airborne or virus particles from the fur or elsewhere on the dog.
It must be said that given our amazing scientific ability through establishments like Porton Down and its scientists who carry out research into chemical weapons, viruses and deadly diseases, we appear to know nothing about this particular virus whatsoever. Why not? And when will we know more?
Exercising Your Dogs:
If you live on your own you are only allowed one period of exercise per day. Strangely the length of the exercise is not stipulated f you wished too you could stay out all day.
However, it does mean that you can only exercise your dogs or dog just once a day. If you live with other family members they can each take out the dog once a day. So the dog could go out as many times a day depending on how many live in the house.
Unfortunately, if anyone in the house presents with any of the known symptoms of CV then no one can exercise the dog that is living in that household, as everyone must be in quarantine (lockdown).
If you live with others and you’re the first to have symptoms, then you must stay home for 7 days. But all other household members must stay in the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the house became ill.
To prepare against this problem
· Stock up on dog food and essentials.
· Stock poo bags, treats, and medications etc
· Perhaps arrange with a neighbour or friend to walk your dog, if not only exercise the dog in the garden.
· Make sure you have at least one weeks supply of food for yourself. Normally you can get delivery within a week.
· Make sure you have all your own medications.
Many Vets are not carrying out routine check-ups or procedures like vaccinations.
Speak to your vet if you have an emergency or even before, so you know where you stand if an emergency arises.
One of the biggest problems I see is there are a lot of people buying puppies as companions as self-isolation bites home and may continue for some time.
Because you cannot visit the puppy in situ, you cannot gauge the personalities of the pups or the mother and of course the breeders.
This can leave people open to the scammers who claim to have puppies ready to go to new homes now. They send you pictures and videos of other people’s pups then get your money and that's the last you hear of them.
Then there are the puppy farmers that are selling substandard puppies at a time of high demand. I have in the last couple of weeks heard of numerous puppy farmed dogs being sold at 6 weeks and under with behavioural and health problems.
Read my article (1) Buying a Puppy before you consider taking on any puppy. It is illegal in the UK to sell a puppy under eight weeks of age Their are other problems during this time such as getting the puppies vaccinated and socialised during lockdown or social distancing.
This is a potential nightmare, as early socialisation is critical to the pup's behaviour and wellbeing in the future. You need a minimum of 100 people handling your pup before 12 weeks and you need to mix with lots of other dogs and puppies before 16 weeks so they are bombproof around people and dogs. Read my article on (2) Puppies the First 16 Weeks.
In all reality, this is not the right to buy a puppy until social isolation is over, probably,y until we have some sort of vaccination and immunity from this evil virus. consider; a rescue dog would be fine but not a pup at these difficult times. Sorry if that appears hard or harsh but a puppy can live for many years. Without the socialisation that it needs then that could be a nightmare rather than a blessing.
Where Can You Exercise Your Dogs?
Now here we have a real bone of contention? Bureaucratic jobsworths come out of the woodwork at times like this. They revel in procedure, ignoring common sense. I have never understood why they call it common sense as it is one of the rarest commodities on Earth. The government have clearly indicated what should happen to parks and open spaces "They Should Stay Open and Accessible".
Our Councils and Parks are run by people that believe if the system is not harsh enough already they will add further restrictions because it suits their mentality, rather than it being realistic, required or sensible
I am certain this outbreak of what I can only describe as stupidity is not peculiar to just my neighbourhood or local areas. I am fairly sure that we all have councils and petty officials with the same mentality and inability to think through cause and effect? Let me give you a couple of examples in and around my own area.
Elmbridge Borough Council They have blocked off access and will not allow parking in any of the normal walking areas, commons, woods and open spaces in the Esher and Cobham areas. WHY?
The only reason I can think of is that they either hate dogs or people wandering around totally legally in these parks and woods.
It is clear that they really do not want you there, and will find any reason legal, or otherwise to stop you.
They say and I quote “The Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick announced on 18 April that all parks should remain open. Elmbridge Borough Council has not at any point closed any of its parks (but have closed some car parks”.
They have actually blocked all the car parks they were able too with skips. They are well aware than no one can use any of these facilities without a vehicle because of where they are situated.
In fact, it would be highly dangerous to walk there because of the narrow roads and lanes and fast-moving traffic The road just behind where I took this picture is the main road 300 yards off the A3 going to Esher and is always busy with fast-moving traffic.
There are no pavements on this stretch and on most of the other car parks, they have blocked. Could they tell me how people can safely get there? They even threatened police involvement if you park in some of the areas they have been unable to block off. For what reason? It is not given on their website. just the comment I shared in italics. Pettifogging of the highest order
The problems caused by closing off massive areas of land like this is that you force people to go to the small parks like Hatherop and Carlisle Park both in Hampton, meaning that people are crammed closer and closer together as they try and find places to exercise and to walk their dogs. The opposite of what the Government and all the scientists want us to do. I have contacted Elbridge they have not bothered to reply.
Bushey and Richmond Park have stopped access to all cars? Have they considered that disabled people may wish to avail themselves of the car parks? People with young children in pushchairs or the elderly who struggle to walk that far, are they not allowed the fresh air as well? They also insisted that all dogs must be on leads have now slightly changed that to all dogs should be on leads.
I will agree that not all dogs are under control, but the majority are. One of the worst acts of cruelty is to deny any animal freedom to express its natural instincts. In fact, it is actually a lawful requirement to allow animals in your care freedom to express their natural drives and instincts and to be able to meet and greet others of their own kind. If you are having problems with recall and control of your dogs then read my two articles on recall and dog control the first one is (3) Puppy Recall Training and the second is (4) Junior and Adult Recall Training
This is from the five freedoms from the 2006 Animal Welfare Act
To insist dogs must be walked only on leads shows a woeful ignorance of dog’s mental health requirements.
This.clearly will create physical stress on dogs that are used to freedom and greeting and meeting other dogs and proper exercise.
(6) Governments Stance in Parks and Open Air. Robert Jenrick, Minister for Local Government said during the government's daily briefing on the18th April, that he had "made it clear" to councils that all parks open spaces and cemeteries must remain open and accessible after many had closed their gates and access in recent weeks.
He said lockdown measures were harder for those without gardens or open spaces and that they needed to be accessible for "the health of the nation". He should have added, and the health of our dogs. Would you close the car parks in cemeteries? Then why would you in parks and designated walking areas?
If your local Council has taken on themselves to flaunt the Government guidelines I suggest you send an Email The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP. firstname.lastname@example.org and copy it to your council or whoever is flouting the guidelines.
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© Stan Rawlinson 25th April 2020
(1) Buying a Puppy