COVID-19 Horses & Pets Guidance

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WITH ANIMALS

We all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. 

You should follow the current guidance and you must stay at home, except for very limited purposes.

The following advice provides further detail for pet owners and livestock keepers on maintaining the welfare of their animals during the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus that causes COVID-19 has been confirmed in one cat in England from a household containing people who had tested positive for COVID-19. This is a very rare event and the animal has made a full recovery. There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans.

This is a very rare event. Experience from other countries is that infected animals to date only show mild clinical signs and recover within in a few days. There is also no evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is circulating between animals, including both pets and food-producing animals in the UK. All available evidence indicates that human-to-human transmission is responsible for the spread of coronavirus in the UK. In line with general public health guidance on coronavirus, you should wash your hands before and after being around or handling animals or their food. There is no evidence that you need to wash your pets to control the spread of coronavirus. Only wash or use products on your pets that are approved for use on animals.

Dogs

Advice if you have symptoms of coronavirus and must remain at home for 7 days, or 14 days as a household

If your dog cannot exercise at home, you should ask someone outside of your household to walk your dog for you. 

All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you must phone the vet to arrange the best approach to meet your pets’ needs. 

Advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus

You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with walking your dog. In doing so, it is important that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside of your household.

All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you may take them, but you must remember to wash your hands and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. You must call the vet before going to see them.

Advice for those walking dogs on behalf of someone not able to

You may also leave your house to provide care or help a vulnerable person. This includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self isolating or being shielded.

You should remember to wash your hands before and after handling the dog, and keep 2 metres away from other people and animals, including when handing over the dog to the owner.

 

Cats

General advice for all cat owners

You should wash your hands before and after any contact with your cat.

 

Horses, livestock and other animals

Advice if you have symptoms of coronavirus and must remain at home for 7 days, or 14 as a household

If you have a horse in livery, you must not visit them whilst you are self-isolating. You should contact your yard manager or vet to make suitable welfare arrangements.

If you have livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, or any other types of livestock you should arrange for someone else who is not self-isolating to care for your animals. 

Where this is not possible you should ensure the basic needs of your animals are met. You must make sure you wash your hands before and after handling your animals, and ensure you remain 2 metres away from other people.

If you are too unwell to care for your animals and there is no one to help

Contact DAERA should you need to discuss the care of farmed animals or animals kept in riding establishments, boarding kennels, pet shops or zoos.

Contact your local council should you need to discuss the care of domestic pets, including horses, and non-farmed animals:

Advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus

You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with leaving your house to provide care for your horse or livestock.

It is essential that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain 2 metres away from others. You should remember to wash your hands before and after contact with any animals. 

If your horse needs urgent attention from a farrier

If your horse requires urgent attention from a farrier, you should phone the farrier to arrange the best approach to meet your horses’ needs. You and the farrier must ensure that you keep 2 metres apart, and wash your hands before and after contact with the horse.

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