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Article

Dog Walking before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown: Experiences of UK Dog Owners

1
Department of Livestock and One Health, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Institute of Infection Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Chester High Road, Neston CH64 7TE, UK
2
Department of Equine Clinical Studies, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Institute of Infection Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Chester High Road, Neston CH64 7TE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126315
Received: 14 April 2021 / Revised: 6 June 2021 / Accepted: 8 June 2021 / Published: 10 June 2021
Background: This study investigated the impacts of the first COVID-19 UK lockdown on dog walking and ownership. Methods: An online survey was circulated via social media (May–June 2020). Completed responses (n = 584) were analysed using within- and between-group comparisons, and multivariable linear and logistic regression models were created. Open-ended data were coded into key themes. Results: During lockdown, dogs were walked less frequently, yet for a similar duration per week and closer to home. Dogs whose owners lived alone, or whose owners or household members had heightened vulnerability to COVID-19 were walked less than before, as were high-energy dogs. A minority of owners continued dog walking despite exhibiting symptoms or needing to self-isolate, justifying lack of help, dog behavioural problems, living in less populated areas, and the importance of outdoor exercise for their mental health. Dog ownership had multiple benefits (companionship, purpose and motivation; break from bad; positive to focus on) as well as challenges (changes in dog behaviour, balancing dog needs with public health guidance, accessing pet food/supplies and services, and sharing crowded outdoor spaces with others). Most did not have an emergency care plan for their pet before the pandemic and only a handful developed one. Conclusions: Findings can be used to inform public health and dog welfare strategies for future lockdown situations or other disasters and emergencies likely to impact on daily routines. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; pandemic; dog walking; dog ownership; lockdown; public health COVID-19; pandemic; dog walking; dog ownership; lockdown; public health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Owczarczak-Garstecka, S.C.; Graham, T.M.; Archer, D.C.; Westgarth, C. Dog Walking before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown: Experiences of UK Dog Owners. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 6315. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126315

AMA Style

Owczarczak-Garstecka SC, Graham TM, Archer DC, Westgarth C. Dog Walking before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown: Experiences of UK Dog Owners. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(12):6315. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126315

Chicago/Turabian Style

Owczarczak-Garstecka, Sara C., Taryn M. Graham, Debra C. Archer, and Carri Westgarth. 2021. "Dog Walking before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown: Experiences of UK Dog Owners" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 12: 6315. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126315

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