The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) has issued new guidance for pet businesses operating during the coronavirus pandemic to offer “clear advice” as to how they can comply with requirements.
The document, which is subject to change amid government advice, entitled ‘Covid-19 – Advice for Animal Related Businesses and Local Authorities’, issues new rules on hygiene, travel and social distancing. The new guidelines also cover a range of businesses dealing directly with pets and livestock.
The report said the government is keen to see businesses continue to operate unless they are on the list of explicitly banned businesses and venues, as the group added that pet businesses play a “key role” in this and should operate within the strict advice on social distancing and hygiene.
The CFSG said: “Pet shops have not been required to close and can continue to provide pet food and other essential supplies. However, a journey solely to purchase a pet is not considered essential and is not allowed.
“If pet shops sell pets (other than kittens and puppies which is now banned) they should only do so when the customer has come to the shop to purchase essential items. Selling those already in stock or coming through the supply chain may continue under that provision providing adequate recommended social distance and health precautions can be maintained at all times.”
According to the CFSG, grooming services also present a “challenge” as there is a risk that the virus may be carried on the dog’s coat.
It said: “Pets from households with coronavirus present higher risk given the nature of the service. In many cases, groomers may therefore consider that maintaining contact with clients remotely and offering advice to them about their pet’s coat is the safest outcome for all concerned.
“Government regulations make it clear that an owner taking a pet by vehicle to be groomed is unlikely to be essential travel, however there may be welfare grounds on which grooming may be necessary, particularly if the lockdown persists.”