LOCKED down dog owners are desperately seeking clarification from the Government over toilet breaks for their pooches.

Animal charities have expressed fears that the strict new coronavirus laws could lead to some dogs only being allowed to leave the house once a day.

According to the RSPCA, a dog needs “regular opportunities to go to the toilet.”

They tell owners to allow their pets “access to an appropriate place where they can go to the toilet” every few hours.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations were published by the Scottish Government yesterday, setting out the list of “reasonable excuses” someone can use to get out of their house.

They include obtaining basic necessities,taking exercise, providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person, travelling to work, donating blood, and attending the funeral of a close family member.

The Scottish Government told The National that dog walking would come firmly under the taking exercise excuse.

While the lockdown will only be a minor problem for pups who live with two or more people, it could be a bit tricky for canines who only live with one person and have no access to a garden.

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The OneKind animal charity called for more detailed guidance.

A spokeswoman said: “Not everyone has a garden and many people will live alone, which brings practical difficulties, and if the dog is not able to relieve itself multiple times a day, this is unfortunately bad welfare.

“Therefore, we need more detailed guidance. Animals are family members too, and owners have a legal duty of care to their animals’ physical and emotional welfare, which many may not be practicably able to meet due to the guidelines.”

Paul Kavanagh, the writer of The National’s Wee Ginger Dug column, said the new rules were “simply not realistic”.

“I live in a top floor flat and don’t have access to a garden or a private area. It’s simply not realistic to expect a dog to only get to do the toilet once a day. You try it with your bladder and see how you get on. It’s cruel and it’s irresponsible.”

He added “We have a legal as well as a moral obligation to keep our animals healthy. Taking a dog out isn’t a question of exercise, it’s about meeting their toilet needs.

“These regulations have clearly been made by people who have access to their own gardens or who don’t have dogs.

“The fact that the needs of dog owners living in flats have not been considered simply signifies that these rules have been rushed in an ill considered and ad hoc way. That doesn’t inspire confidence.”

Police Scotland referred The National to the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government referred The National to the UK Government’s guidance to staying at home and away from others.

In South Africa, dog walking has been banned completely.

Police Minister Bheki Cele told a news conference: “If you really want to walk your dog, do it around your house – it ends there.”

While in the Lombardy region of Italy, the maximum radius for dog walking has been set at 200 meters.

In Spain, taking your dog for a walk is one of the only reasons you can leave the house.

However, that’s seemingly led to some dog owners renting out their hounds.