Falkirk MP urges pet owners to follow advice for four legged friends during coronavirus crisis

Pets need a lot of care and attention at the best of times and looking after them becomes an even bigger responsibility while we are living through the worst of times.

The Scottish Government has published some vital guidance regarding pet care during these days of self isolation and social distancing and Falkirk MP John McNally believes residents owe it to their furry pals, be they cat or dog, rabbit or guinea pig, snake or snail or any other creatures big and small, domestic or otherwise, to follow the best available advice.

He said: “Pets are a real comfort during this difficult time and offer companionship, especially to those who live on their own.”

According to the information on the Scottish Government website it is, in terms of social distancing regulations, accepted dogs may need to be taken out more than once per day if they do not have access to a garden or other area to toilet.

Advice is available on how to look after our four legged friends during the coronavirus crisis

This must be done following the guidance on social distancing so that you do not come within two metres of other people and owners are urged to wash their hands upon returning home.

It’s a similar approach for those dogs residing in homes of people with underlying medical conditions who fall into the high risk category and if owners have arranged for someone else to walk their canine, particular care should be taken to avoid letting these temporary dog walkers into your home.

It is permitted to walk the dogs and look after the pets of people who are ill or self-isolating, but strict social distancing has to be followed when pets are collected or returned so people avoid coming within two metres of those self-isolating and they wash their hands afterwards.

Dogs from self-isolating households should be kept on a lead and contact avoided with other people and animals if being walked in public.

While there have not been any reports of dogs or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 – and currently there is no evidence they play a significant role in this human disease – it is recommended those who have COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms, adopt stringent hygiene measures when handling their pets.

If someone is too unwell to care for their animal or animals and do not have anyone nearby who can help, they can call the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999 or visit www.scottishspca.org for more information.

When it comes to travel, journeys to feed or provide other essential care for animals are acceptable, but should be carried out in a way that follows the guidance on social distancing.

Boarding kennels and catteries can provide a valuable service caring for pets of essential workers and those who become seriously ill and have no-one else to look after their pet. They may remain open for these purposes if they follow the guidance on social distancing for their staff and owners when animals arrive or are collected.

Vets will continue to be available to provide emergency services, but people are asked to contact their vet before travelling to check a visit is essential and there are arrangements for social distancing at the surgery.

Visit www.gov.scot for more information.