Walking your dog and managing vet visits during coronavirus lockdown

In response to the latest Government advice, our vets at Felcana have created a guide to help keep you and your dog safe and healthy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. In this post, we will discuss:
  • When your dog should see a vet, and what’s considered an emergency
  • Important steps to take before going to the vet
  • Tips on being prepared and keeping your pet healthy during quarantine
  • Advice for walking your dog during lockdown
  • How Felcana technology can keep your pet healthy at home

    We know your dogs are bringing you comfort and cuddles during this uncertain time. Even though vet surgeries are only open for emergencies, our Felcana vets will be here to help make sure your pup is staying healthy during lockdown. That’s why we’ve provided you with guidance on how to keep your dog safe and happy at home so that vets can stay open for emergencies at this time.

    What’s considered an emergency for my dog during lockdown?

    During the coronavirus lockdown, the vets at Felcana recommend that you only visit your vet for emergencies. This means your dog won’t need to come in for their normal checkups and jab boosters.

    If your dog becomes sick, ill, or injured during lockdown, Felcana has provided examples to help guide you through some of the most common emergencies where your dog should be examined in person (we’ve also written a handy article to help you spot the signs if your pet is in pain). These examples are not exhaustive and if in doubt, should contact your vet.

    Not Urgent: Suspend and delay for duration of lockdown

    dog health check at home

    Investigate: Get online vet advice

    Online vet chat

    Urgent: Visit veterinary clinic

    Emergency vet
    For more mild conditions that don’t need to be seen urgently, check out our articles on reasons your pet might be itchy or signs your dog might have an ear infection. We’ve also prepared some common reasons why your dog might be vomiting or have diarrhoea, how to relieve the symptoms, and what to tell your vet via the Felcana app on your mobile device.

    Dog vaccines during lockdown

    During lockdown, vets do not consider most dog vaccinations essential. For normal adult boosters and first vaccines for puppies, jabs will be delayed, helping slow the spread of COVID-19 by minimising the number of clients vets see.

    Vaccines may be required at animal shelters, in the face of disease outbreaks, and for dogs or puppies considered to be in a high-risk environment. If you’re unsure whether your pet’s vaccine status is classified as high-risk, you can ask a vet.

    Until your dog’s jabs are up to date, try to avoid areas where unvaccinated pets may be visiting and keep them indoors or in private gardens until they’re fully protected.

    Does my dog need to visit the vet? Take these precautions before leaving in the event of an emergency

    If your dog has an emergency during lockdown, the Felcana vets recommend referring to the guidelines below to keep both you and the vet staff healthy and safe:

    1. Stay calm and telephone your vet, make sure to call your vet before leaving home: your vet may advise you to go to a different out-of-hours practice, and this can delay treatment if you arrive without phoning first.
    2. Upon arrival, wait in your car or outside the surgery and telephone in to let them know you’re there: staff will take appropriate safety measures to prepare for the arrival of you and your dog.
    3. What to expect when you’re there: your dog will be collected outside by a staff member and owners should ideally remain outside while the patient is examined by the vet inside the surgery.
    4. After the initial exam, treatment plans and next steps will be discussed with you: look to use technology to help simplify future veterinary needs.
    5. If you need urgent prescriptions for your dog, vets can issue a prescription electronically: online pharmacies can send the medicines to you in the post.

    Being prepared and keeping your dog healthy at home

    Make sure you’ve got Felcana’s website on hand so you can access our soon to be released Symptom Checker tool and veterinary advice. It’s a good idea to keep your veterinary contact details on your phone and in a public place at home e.g. on the fridge.  In case you need them in an emergency, locate your nearest out-of-hours vet and ask if they’ll be open during lockdown just in case your normal vet isn’t.

    Owners should also keep a dog first aid kit at home and in their cars. Here are the top items Felcana vets recommend you pack in your dog’s first aid kit:

    • Bandages
    • Blunt-ended scissors
    • Cotton wool
    • Wound wash/antiseptic wipes
    • Tweezers
    • Tick tweezers
    • Wound dressings
    • Self-adhesive tape
    • Vinyl gloves
    • Foil blanket
    • Cloth blanket to use as a stretcher

    Don’t forget to double check your house is pet proofed - beware of those candles and portable heaters! If you have extended family or friends quarantining with you, you might want to print out Felcana’s article on the most common dangerous foods for dogs so that everyone knows what’s bad for you pup. Trips to the vet caused by dogs eating chocolate increase when your family spends more time at home during periods like Christmas and Easter - you can read more on this While your dog will be pleased that everyone’s together during quarantine, just make sure to look out for those chocolate treats!

    Although lockdown procedures only allow emergency trips to the vet, it’s not a good idea to try to self-treat your dog at home as many human medications are toxic to pets. If any questions over your dog’s health arise during lockdown, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice from your Felcana vet.

    Keeping healthy during dog walks

    As per the current government restrictions, you’re allowed to walk your dog during lockdown. Here are some key pointers to help you stay safe during your walks:

    • Stay in your local neighbourhood
    • You, and your dog, should keep a two-metre distance away from others
    • Although there’s no evidence pets can spread the disease, it’s advised to avoid petting other dogs. Just like human hands, pet fur can potentially carry the virus
    • Wash your hands after touching pets and when you arrive at home after walks
    • You’re only allowed one form of exercise a day, so if your dog needs multiple walks to burn off that energy, try to have different members of the household take them out on separate occasions
    • Ensure you have sufficient supplies for your pet such as food and medications, so that you only make essential trips to the pet shops

    Trying to stay fit during quarantine, but want to include your pup? Check out our 8 top tips for running with your dog!

    corona vet

    If your neighbour is self-isolating or is a highly vulnerable person, it’s important to offer help and support like walking their dog or taking them to the vet. If you’re walking a self-isolating person’s dog, here are some helpful tips from our vets at Felcana to keep everyone safe:

    • Wash your hands before and after collecting the dog
    • Maintain a two-metre distance away from each other and while out on your walk
    • Ask the isolated person to put the dog into a safe, contained space and then go back inside their home. The walker can then enter and use their own lead to clip onto the dog’s collar. Carry out the same process when you return the dog to its home. Reverse the same process when you return

    How Felcana can keep your dog healthy during lockdown

    In the face of these stressful times, we’re are lucky to have our fluffy companions bringing us endless laughs and cuddles while we’re stuck inside. Eventually this will pass, so appreciate the extra time you get to be home with your dog: make it fun by playing games, teaching them new tricks, or spending extra time snuggling them on the couch!

    Felcana’s digital veterinary clinic helps pet owners and vets care for dogs and cats remotely. Our Felcana Go activity monitor helps you check your dog is getting the correct amount of exercise.  Our soon too launch Symptom Checker answers any of your pet problems conveniently wherever you are.  Let’s keep ourselves and our dogs safe at home so that vets can continue to care for our pets should a true emergency arise.

    Coronavirus in dogs