COVID-19 – Keeping Unvaccinated Pets Safe

Read our guidance for protecting and keeping pets who are unable to have vaccinations safe during the current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

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We know that many of you will be worried about your pet’s health following the announcement that we are temporarily not offering routine vaccination appointments during this Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Whilst animal welfare remains a priority, we have to respond to Government advice during this difficult time and protect all those who may be vulnerable.

We have, in the past, published information highlighting the importance of regular health checks and vaccinations for your pets and hope that we can soon return to this way of working.

If your pet’s vaccinations are fully up to date then current advice says they can carry on their normal routine (if social distancing allows).

Protecting Pets That Can’t Be Vaccinated

There are some things that you can do to help protect your pet if their vaccinations cannot be done at the exact time that they are due.


If cats can be kept indoors that will limit their exposure to diseases such as feline leukaemia.

Taking them outside on a lead for short periods allows you to control their interaction with other cats.

Letting them out for short periods only and avoiding shows, travel and other social events will also help protect them.


With regards to dogs it would also be advisable to avoid shows and large social gatherings.

If possible, choose less crowded parks or allow them to play with fully vaccinated dogs in enclosed gardens or exercise them at less busy times of day. Try and avoid areas where there are many dogs off lead that you won’t necessarily know the vaccination status of.

Wet, muddy areas and areas where rats frequent and urinate should also be avoided. We advise washing off mud when your dog comes in.

With the drier weather forecast it should be easier to find clean paths to use.


Pet rabbits should be protected from flies and contact with wild rabbits.

Pets Who Haven’t Had An Initial Vaccination Course

If your pet hasn’t yet had their initial course of vaccinations then it is best to keep them inside for the time being. Even if they have had part of their course they will be at risk.

Puppies, if small enough, can be carried outside for some fresh air but should not be put on the floor except in small areas of enclosed gardens, which have been disinfected.

Moving Forward

We don’t vaccinate for all diseases every year. Some are done every two or three years. Some vaccinations last for several months after the recommended booster date. In addition, there is a degree of ‘herd immunity’ within the cat, dog and domestic rabbit population so it should take many months for outbreaks of the diseases that we vaccinate against to occur.

We know that this is a worrying time for all pet owners. We want to put your mind at rest that there are things that you can do to reduce their risk if your pet becomes overdue for a vaccination or if they haven’t yet had a full initial course.

We are happy to answer any questions you have about your pet’s vaccination status and health checks so please call your local practice if you have further concerns.

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