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Ireland and Wales officially announce lockdown: What are the dog-walking rules?

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The prime minister of Ireland and the first minister of Wales have announced a return to lockdown measures where non-essential outings will be banned.

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the 20/10/2020, 15:40, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:24

Ireland and Wales are the first governments to announce a new lockdown, though other European countries have started to implement curfews. From midnight on Wednesday, Ireland will return to the highest level of coronavirus restrictions for at least 6 weeks. Starting on Friday, Wales will also enter a “firebreak” lockdown which is to last for 2 weeks at the least.

According to these measures, bars and restaurants will close, though take-out services will still be available. Construction sites and schools will also remain open – the main issues the government are trying to tackle are family and friend reunions.

Can I still walk my dog during the Ireland and Wales lockdowns?

Yes, walking your dog is considered an essential activity, and you will be allowed to continue doing so under the new guidelines.

In Ireland’s case, you will not be allowed to travel any further than within a 3-mile radius of your home. This means you may have to walk your dog a little closer to your residence than you usually do, but as of yet, there are no time-related restrictions on how long you can be outside.

Can I still go the vet during the Ireland and Wales lockdowns?

All non-essential shops and services will be closed, so don’t expect to take your pet to the groomer’s or to a training class any time soon.

Vets will, of course, continue their activity. But as in the case of the previous lockdown, vets will only be seeing pets for urgent and essential appointments. Make sure to book an appointment in advance rather than just dropping into the clinic at any time. You should also expect to be required to go in alone and to wear a mask during your pet’s consultation. If you can, prioritise phone or online consultations rather than in-person ones.

Find out more about veterinary telemedicine

How do I take care of my dog during lockdown?

A new lockdown inevitably means that you’ll be spending a lot more time at home. Make sure you compensate for the lack of outdoor time with lots of fun indoor games to keep your pet mentally and physically stimulated!

Here are some ideas on how to keep your dog active indoors!

Though the new announcements can be a tough pill to swallow, remember that as a pet owner, you’re lucky. Pets have been scientifically proven to improve our moods and make us feel more relaxed and happier. In fact, pet owners dealt with the first lockdown a lot better than non-pet owners. So take this as an opportunity to keep bonding with your pet. Stay strong and more importantly, stay safe!

See also: Dogs can help us to get through the worst of Covid-19