New Forest Dog On The Forest Off The Lead

Care for your dog during Covid-19


As the need for lock-down and social distancing continues, the New Forest Dog Owners Group has issued a series of pointers and suggestions to help dog owners.

“The restrictions make life difficult, but particularly disrupt normal routines. This can be upsetting for dogs as well as humans,” says Heather Gould, Chair of the NFDOG. “There are also a series of rumours around – such as that dogs and other animals can spread Coronavirus. That is quite untrue.”

The guidance has been put together primarily by vet Janine Redman, from Forest Lodge Vets in Lymington and New Milton, who is a Committee member of the New Forest Dog Owner’s Group. She says changes in routine brought on by the restrictions can be stressful for animals also, and it’s important to keep an eye on them as anxiety is both dangerous to their health, and can bring on increased aggression.

A key is to keep dogs occupied, and playing or training a dog for as long as a daily walk would take is one way to keep them happy if you can’t go out and about. A lot of dog training clubs are hosting online courses, challenges and new training ideas. If exercise is restricted then it’s sensible to cut down on food also – if dogs are not burning calories, then they should get fewer each day to ensure they remain in good shape.

Other points to remember are:

  1. Vets are able to provide urgent treatment but not routine surgery or consultation at this time
  2. Repeat medication will be available as will routine flea , tick and worm medication where required
  3. Some vet consultations will be by phone , some by video link and in serious cases the animals will be admitted to the practice but owners need to wait outside in the car or car park
  4. Please try not to put your dogs at any additional risk during this period so breeding your bitch is not advisable for the time being .
  5. Any puppies that are in new homes may have reduced social contacts and experiences with people and other dogs so look for good on line training advise and look for downloads on sounds of typical environment, perhaps look at Dogs trust website which has downloadable “sounds sociable” and “sounds scary “ .
  6. New dogs and puppies need to be accustomed to spending some time on their own so they can cope when life returns to normal and households return to work and normality
  7. Even if you walk your dog from home accustom them to sitting in the car with the engine on or driving round the block
  8. Spring is a time for nesting birds, and these areas should be avoided (or have your dog on a lead). It’s also the start of the snake bite season will be upon us soon so be vigilant