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Source: Auckland Council

There are more than 100,000 registered dog owners in Auckland; that’s a lot of dogs who still need daily walks to maintain their health and wellbeing.

And while you might not be enamoured with the Alert Level 4 lockdown, your pet will love it, having their human around to lavish all that extra attention – the head pats, the belly rubs and all those extra walks.

But what guidelines apply to dog walking during the L4 lockdown period?

It’s important to follow some basic guidelines: here’s a handy guide 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 may want to change your plans.

“When it says, ‘walk the dog’, that’s what it means; the general rules regarding car travel still apply. Car use is only for essential travel, for shopping or medical supplies or if you are an essential worker travelling to, from or as part of your essential work,” she says.

“We want you to be able to walk your dog; please do not drive; your canine friend would much prefer a walk. Stay local, stay in your bubble,” says Cooper.

Dog on a leash always to avoid coming into close contact with someone else; this includes within off-leash exercise areas

“We’ve got some fantastic parks and areas in Auckland 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 to avoid coming into close contact with someone else.

“To make sure there’s no room for doubt here, owners need to have dogs on a leash,” she says.

As an extra precaution, we discourage people from interacting with dogs not within their own self-isolation ‘bubble’

“Keep your distance – no ‘bottom sniffs’ at level 4 for your canine friend.

“Discourage others from patting or interacting with your dog to avoid any possibility of transmitting germs via your pets’ fur”, says Cooper.

If your dog goes walkabout during the lockdown period

“This is the reason it’s important to have your dog on a leash. But if it does escape your property, rather than taking it to the pound, where practical, animal control officers will return it directly to your home, providing it is registered or microchipped following all the social distancing guidelines.  If we don’t have details, it will be taken to one of our three animal shelters.”

Keep exercising your dogs 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.”

Normal rules also still apply on where you can take dogs

“It’s also important to remember the 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.”

“Remember dog walking etiquette, pick up any deposits your dog makes in parks or on berms; homeowners loathe stepping in it or having to mow it, it’s just not cool.”

Follow the rules on the council website for where you can walk your dog or call us on 09 301 0101 if you need help or are unsure about the rules in your area.

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 visit here.