In a dramatic address to the nation on Monday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a raft of new, stricter measures aimed at slowing the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
For at least the next few weeks, British people have been instructed to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. But what does that mean for our dogs' walks?
Can I walk my dog?
According to the announcement, people that have not exhibited any symptoms of coronavirus (such as a high temperature and a continuous cough), and do not live with anybody who has done, can head outside for 'one form of exercise' once per day. For dog owners, this activity should obviously be walking your dog.
You can be joined by other members of your household or you could each take your turn separately to maximise your dog's activity.
Corona primarily spreads through close contact with an infected person or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It's therefore essential that you don't get too close to others.
It may also be possible to contract the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes so hand hygiene is crucial.
Remember these key points when walking your dog to minimise your risk of contracting or spreading the covid-19 coronavirus:
Try to stay away from people as much as possible by sticking to quiet areas. While parks will be staying open for dog walkers and exercise, you might find that they are now much busier than your local streets and lanes.
Always try to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people and avoid stopping for chats along the way.
Definitely refrain from walking with people from outside of your household. Even if you all seem as fit as fiddles, you may still be carrying the virus and able to transmit it to others.
If a pet has been in close contact with an infected person there is a chance that their coat could harbour the virus for some time afterwards. For safety's sake, it's therefore best to avoid contact with other people's dogs and to restrict others from patting your dogs for the time being.
Wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you get home.
If you do start to have symptoms, or if you live with somebody who does, I'm afraid you shouldn't leave your house at all and instead should ask friends or relatives for help exercising your pets.
Dogs need exercise so make sure you use your daily dose of exercise to stretch your pooch's legs. They are also incredibly sensitive to the stress of their owners so, as hard as it might be, try to keep things as 'normal' and as upbeat as you can.