Government Minister says dog walkers play a ‘key role’ in safeguarding the nation’s pets during Coronavirus COVID-19 UK lockdown

27th April 2020

Dear friends of Petpals

When the Government introduced lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, questions were asked whether we as professional dog walkers, should carry on working? In our eyes we felt we should because we knew we were providing a vital service to our clients, many of whom were key workers.

Coronavirus Dog Walking

Unfortunately, a few members of the public disagreed and sadly some Petpals’ staff received verbal abuse whilst out walking client’s dogs. This was very upsetting for those involved and as such some of our businesses decided to close rather than leave themselves and their staff open to similar treatment.

On behalf of our franchisees, we were determined to correct this misinterpretation of the rules and to give them the proof and reassurance they needed to carry on working. We began a lobbying campaign to get a cast-iron response on the subject from the Government.

We have written to the Prime Minister, multiple Secretaries of State, the Cabinet Office, DEFRA and every MP in the country.

Government response

We are pleased to say that as a result we finally received confirmation from Lord Goldsmith, the minister of State for DEFRA, via one of our MP’s, see the response below:

With the exception of those businesses required to close, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on, not least to ensure the economy keeps working and in the case of pet businesses to help safeguard the welfare of the nation’s pets. Pet businesses play a key role in this and should operate within the strict advice on social distancing and hygiene.’

Dog walking COVID-19

This reply is exactly what we had been hoping for in giving our hard working Petpals franchise owners and staff the reassurance they need to return to work, safe in the knowledge that they are not going against any official guidance but indeed are playing a ‘key role’ in safeguarding the nation’s pets and keeping the economy going.

Some Petpals businesses may have to remain closed for personal reasons (i.e. vulnerable, self-isolating etc).

Dog walking hygiene

We would like to reassure the public that we take the health and hygiene of our staff, our clients, and their pets extremely seriously. We have introduced heightened hygiene measures across the network, including only walking dogs from one house at a time and keeping them on a lead where necessary. We use our own leads during walks and adopting appropriate hygiene standards before and after each pick up and drop off.

Thank you

We would like to thank all our clients who have written to us to tell us how important our services are to them and continuing to support us during this difficult time.  We look forward to being reunited with all clients very soon.

Petpals UK Ltd

Further advice for pet owners on maintaining the welfare of their animals during the COVID-19 pandemic has been published here:

There is also advice on the walking of dogs in green spaces here:




Petpals has over 50 operations covering most of the United Kingdom. If you would like to know more about buying your own Petpals franchise. please click here for more information about how to make your dream of working with animals, come true.