There are more than 100,000 registered dog owners in Auckland. That’s a lot of dogs that still need their daily walks to maintain their health and wellbeing. But what guidelines apply to dog walking during the lockdown period?
Remember dog access rules haven’t changed. However, we recommend you follow some basic guidelines as to how to observe the rules of the level 4 lockdown to reduce the chances of transmitting Covid-19 to keep you and your family safe.
So, here’s our recommendations on the do’s and don’ts of walking your dog during lockdown with Councillor Linda Cooper, Chair of Auckland Council’s Regulatory Committee.
If you usually drive to the beach to walk your dog, you should change your plans. You shouldn’t be driving unless you have a very good reason to do so
“We want you to be able to exercise your dogs but the general rules regarding car travel still apply. That means only use your car for essential travel to get shopping or medical supplies or if you are an essential worker travelling to, from or as part of your essential work,” she says.
“If you ordinarily drive somewhere to walk your dog, you need to change your dog walking route. Stay local and do not drive to walk your dog,” says Cooper.
We recommend that owners have their dogs on a leash at all times to avoid coming into close contact with someone else when walking or retrieving their dog. This includes within off-leash exercise areas.
“We’ve got some fantastic parks in Auckland and areas that you can walk your dog, some of which are areas where ordinarily you can walk your dog off leash. However, now this just isn’t a good idea,” says Cooper.
“Importantly, the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 rules of keeping a 2m distance must be applied when exercising dogs. This is to avoid a person coming into close contact with someone else when walking or retrieving their dog.
“To make sure there’s no room for doubt here, owners should always have dogs on a leash,” she says.
As an extra precaution, we discourage people from patting dogs that are not within their own self-isolation ‘bubble’
“Some pet experts are suggesting that people should be discouraged from patting dogs to avoid any possibility whatsoever of transmitting the virus via your pets’ hair,” says Cooper.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, we think this is a common-sense approach to take.”
Keep exercising your dogs and caring for your pets as usual, while following government guidance
“We know you love your dog and want to take care of it responsibly”, she says.
“Now is the time for people to be more vigilant than ever about their dog exercising practices.
“In general, keep exercising your dogs and caring for your pets as usual, while following government guidance. Walk dogs on a leash and avoid any unnecessary pats or contact from people outside your self-isolation ‘bubble’.
Normal rules also still apply on where you can take dogs
“Its also important to remember that rules around where you can and can’t take dogs still apply, so please don’t take your dogs to areas where you ordinarily wouldn’t. Locations such as sports fields, some beaches and parks are still off limits,” she says.
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 visit covid19.govt.nz