Business support and advice
Support and advice for businesses affected by COVID-19.

Animal owners and businesses dealing with animals - COVID-19 advice

Dog with coronavirus germ

This page was updated on the 6 January 2021

National Lockdown - Stay at Home

An amendment to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on the 6 January, they impose closures and restrictions upon a number of businesses and activities (also known as National Lockdown 3). As the Council understands the new legislation and is offered advice by Government these page will be subject to change. Preston is currently under Tier 4 Restrictions - Stay at Home.

If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a 'reasonable excuse'. A reasonable excuse includes attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services. You can leave home for work purposes. As an owner or keeper of an animal you still have a duty to care for the welfare of that animal.

The following page contains information and advice for pet owners and animal businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.  As the Council better understands the new legislation and is offered further advice by Government these page will be subject to change.

A workplace or premises should be closed but its open, what can be done?

The Police and Preston City Council have powers to close businesses that remain open against the government orders.

You can report business you think should be closed using the button below

Report a coronavirus issue form

See our Covid-19 compliance in business webpages to see enforcement actions taken by Environmental Health

For details of further restrictions, not affecting businesses, visit our FAQs on local restrictions page.

Transmission of Covid-19 between animals and people

There remains little evidence that pets are implicated in the transmission of Coronavirus to people and infection of the pet is rare, but that there is some risk of virus potentially being carried from person to person on pets and their belongings although scientific assessment is now that such transmission is relatively unlikely. There have been some rare instances where infected owners have passed on infection to their pets but there remains no evidence of onward transmission and the main route of transmission remains person-to-person.

The simple precaution of washing hands for twenty seconds, or using hand sanitiser (when hand washing facilities are unavailable), as frequently as possible should now be intrinsic in every activity. Face coverings are not mandatory in in many cases (except for Vets) but should be used a good practice in any indoor environments where employees are unavoidably mixing with members of the public.

Dog walking

You are permitted to walk your dog whenever you like. Remember to remain at least 2 meters away from anyone outside of your household (or legal support bubble). You should remain in Tier 4 areas and ideally stick to the Preston area.

All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you may take them, but you should phone your vet first for advice.

Walking some else's dog

You walk a dog for someone else, this includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self isolating or being shielded. Remember to remain at least 2 meters away from anyone outside of your household (or legal support bubble). You should remain in Tier 4 areas and ideally stick to the Preston area.

For full guidelines you must follow when walking someone else's dog visit CSFG - walking someone else's dog - COVID-19.

Cats

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

Horses, livestock or other animals

You must follow all social distancing guidelines at your livery yard or stables. You should exercise your horse in Tier 4 areas and ideally stick to the Preston area.

If your horse requires urgent attention from a vet or farrier, you should phone the vet or farrier to arrange the best approach to meet your horses needs.

Businesses that deal with animals

Dog and cat boarding

These premises do not have to close, but must follow Covid Secure guidance.

Boarding establishments may have low occupancy rates owing to cancelled holidays, however there remains a requirement to care for the pets of people hospitalised from coronavirus and for key workers, and vulnerable people who may not be able to care for their pets.

Boarding establishments may make arrangements with shelters and rescues if needed.

  • Pets should only be admitted or sent home by appointment to ensure you only have a single client on the premises at any one time.
  • The business handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed with the owner retaining all equipment such as leads.
  • Any material such as collars, toys and food bowls arriving with an animal should be thoroughly washed with soap and water and left to dry in the open air.
  • Handover should take place in an outdoor space large enough for the client and staff to maintain their social distance.
  • If an animal is taken from a Coronavirus infected household either bath them thoroughly and safely or they should be held in the establishment's isolation facility for three days to ensure no virus is retained on the pet.
  • During that period those pets should be dealt with after all others on the premises.
  • Animal rescue and re-homing organisations may also be under pressure from animals being abandoned and particularly if they have a stray dog contract with the local authority.
  • Boarding establishments may also wish to offer space to them. Clearly a proportion of any of those animals may not have up to date vaccinations. Veterinary practices may be able to offer vaccination if a disease and public health assessment by the vet shows it to be appropriate and social distancing can be maintained. The boarding establishment's veterinary practice should be contacted for advice regarding this. If, on assessment, the veterinary practice feels vaccination is appropriate, it may be that the risk of a visit by a vet and veterinary nurse is considered less of a public health risk than individual animals being taken to the owner's practice.
  • It is important to increase bio-security within the boarding establishment to reduce the likelihood of disease. This may be achieved by increased use of disinfectant, personal hygiene by the use of hand gel or hand washing between animals and by better separation of animals.

Home boarding

Similar to boarding establishments it is possible that some will be little used. Priority should be given to board dogs from households of key workers, or vulnerable people or from a coronavirus infected or isolating household.

  • The business handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed.
  • If an animal is taken from a Coronavirus infected household either bath them thoroughly and safely or they should be kept separately to the other dogs in the household for three days to ensure no virus is retained on the pet. During that period those pets should be dealt with after all others on the premises.
  • All admission and return of dogs should be by appointment only to ensure clients are able to maintain social distance.
  • The home boarder may collect the dog or the client may drop off and collect the dog by appointment.
  • You should only have one person dropping off or collecting their dog at a time. The owner should retain all equipment such as leads.
  • The home boarder must wash all equipment with soap and water once the dog/s have left.
  • Dogs should be walked on a lead locally, maintaining social distance from other people and pets.
  • Dogs may be allowed off lead in a secure safe area such as a park or enclosed field.

Dog day care

Commercial day care may continue to operate and priority should be given for key workers, and vulnerable people who are unable to make alternative safe arrangements for their dog.

  • Dogs may be collected from their home or owners may drop off and collect their dogs by appointment only, to ensure clients are able to maintain their social distance from others by only having one client on the premises at a time.
  • If dogs are brought to site owners should remain in their vehicles until staff are ready to accept their dog with a similar procedure on return. Handover should take place in an outdoor space large enough for the client and staff to maintain their social distance (2m should be adhered to where possible).
  • The business handover protocolset out by CFSG should be followed.
  • The owner should retain all equipment such as leads.
  • If dogs are collected, only those from households that are not infected or self-isolating should be collected on each trip.
  • If establishments wish to accept dogs from infected or self-isolating households they must be collected and returned separately. Such dogs should not be mixed with those from 'clear' households and must be kept in a completely separate group.
  • The vehicle must be disinfected between journeys. The entire premises must be cleaned and disinfected at the close of each day.

Dog and cat breeders

  • Purchasers living in Tier 4 areas are unable to travel to collect a puppy or kitten but the breeder may provide a delivery service across a Tier 4 boundary
  • Puppies and kittens that are ready to be rehomed should be delivered to their new owners by the breeder. Where this may not be possible and it is considered & reasonably necessary for welfare reasons, they may be collected. In these circumstances the collection should be by appointment only and the handover must take place outside maintaining social distance and in compliance with other safety precautions.
  • When a pet is delivered handover should take place in an outdoor space large enough for the breeder/transporter and purchaser to maintain their social distance (2m should be adhered to where possible). Whilst it is desirable to give an item of bedding with a kitten or puppy care must be taken to ensure there is no potential for transfer of virus.
  • Paperwork and other checks and documentation should be predominantly completed ahead of the meeting.
  • Prior to the acquisition of the puppy or kitten, the purchaser should be given advice on immediate care of them including what food to purchase and allowing them to settle in their new home.
  • Breeders who are considering mating a bitch or queen should ensure that they have the facility to be able to allow potential purchasers to view the litter remotely if necessary because social distance cannot be maintained and whether the offspring will have sufficient socialisation in the current pandemic.
  • They should also consider how the offspring can be safely handed over complying with the guidance above.
  • It may not be possible to vaccinate and microchip puppies or kittens during this time. Breeders and purchasers should contact their veterinary practice by telephone first for advice.
  • Where there is a high risk of infection with severe disease such as Canine Parvovirus the practice may be able to provide suitable arrangements for vaccination if a disease and public health assessment by the vet shows it to be appropriate and social distancing can be maintained.
  • The breeder's veterinary practice should be contacted for advice prior to sale. If, on assessment, the veterinary practice feels vaccination is appropriate, it may be that the risk of a visit by a vet and veterinary nurse is considered less of a public health risk than individual animals being taken to each purchaser's practice. If vaccination is undertaken the pet should be microchipped at the same time if not already implanted.

Transport

Premises may transport  animals from their home to the business premises, so long as animals from one household are transported at one time and vehicles are given a thorough disinfection between household animals.

Vaccinations

Conditions of license requires the vaccination of animals accepted into the licensed premises. However many vets are only undertaking emergency care at this time and therefore many people cannot get their animal vaccinations updated.

Therefore the Council is prepared to relax these conditions during the Covid-19 emergency. However premises must ensure they:

  • undertake a written risk assessment for the acceptance of non-vaccinated animals
  • animals are isolated (In your isolation facilities or in a separate kennel enclosure etc) from other animals at all times.

If you cannot do this, you should not board the animal.

Pet shops

These premises do not have to close and may trade as normal, but must follow CoVid Secure guidance.

Dog trainers

Training of dogs is an important element of their social development. Dog trainers may continue to provide advice on training basis using technology to connect the trainer and client.

  • It may also be possible to run classes by video link.
  • Indoor training classes are not allowed.
  • Only one-to-one training outdoors is allowed with no indoor training.
  • There should be no physical contact between the trainer and client or dog and social distance should be maintained at all times.
  • Owners of dogs from infected or self-isolating households pose a significantly higher risk to the trainer and should not be accepted.
  • Owners can leave their dogs with a trainer providing the business handover protocol is followed and social distancing is maintained.

Dog walking

Dog walking services may still be provided, subject to public health rules being maintained including social distancing.

The business handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed with the owner retaining all equipment such as leads. Only dogs from the same household should be walked together and any vehicle used to transport the dogs should be thoroughly disinfected between dogs.

Dog walkers should use gloves and change them between households. You are encouraged to minimise the touching of clients dogs at this time.

Dog groomers

An owner may take a pet to be groomed by appointment if the grooming is necessary for welfare reasons. The necessity for an appointment is to ensure social distancing between clients.

  • If dogs are brought to site owners should remain in their vehicles until staff are ready to accept their dog.
  • The business handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed and should take place in an outdoor space large enough for the client and staff to maintain their social distance.
  • Groomers can collect dogs from client's homes as long as they can disinfect their vehicle between collections. Pets from infected or self-isolating households should be collected separately from other dogs in different journeys and after pets from other non-infected households.
  • Groomers should assess whether the grooming can be delayed until the household is clear to reduce the risk to themselves and their staff.
  • Social distancing should be maintained at all times and the business handover protocolset out by CFSG should be followed with the owner retaining all equipment such as leads. Multiple dogs may be taken in at a time where a grooming salon has sufficient space to separate them and for groomers to maintain social distancing whilst working (2m should be adhered to where possible).
  • Admission and return of dogs must be by appointment only to ensure social distancing where the reception area is large enough to do so.
  • Where clients bring their dogs to the salon when possible they should wait in the car until the salon is ready to accept the dog. The reverse procedure should be used for return.
  • The business handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed. Mobile groomers may continue to operate providing that they can maintain social distancing.
  • The business handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed with the owner retaining all equipment such as leads. The grooming facility must be thoroughly disinfected between pets. Home groomers may operate providing they can maintain social distancing rules and following the Government guidance on those working in other people's homes.
  • Groomers must not visit an infected or self-isolating household.
  • All equipment must be disinfected between each home.

Riding schools

  • You must not leave or be outside your home, except for where you have a specific purpose (work, essential activities, education, etc) or a reasonable excuse (care and exercise of horses, exercise, etc)
  • During the lockdown riding schools must close for public lessons and activities;
  • Arena hire is not permitted, however arenas can be used for exercising horses which are stabled at the venue, livery yard or riding school;
  • Horse owners, loaners and sharers can continue to travel to care for and exercise their horse when it is not kept at home;
  • Horse riding can continue although all organised activities and competitions will be required to stop.

Please see further detailed information from the British Horse Society

Risk Assessment guidance for Riding Schools and Livery Centres

You can find information on horse vaccinations on the Rossdales Veterinary Surgeons website.

Livery yards

Livery yards can continue to allow horse owners, loaners or sharers to care for and exercise their horse. Horse riding can continue although all organised activities and competitions will be required to stop All persons visiting the Livery yard must follow social distancing guidelines. British Horse Society guidance. Essential visits for the welfare of horses e.g. farrier, vet and physio can continue.

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