Enjoying the Great British countryside with your dog is a wonderful experience. It's a great way of exercising your dog and is the ideal place to bond.
We need to keep the countryside special for everyone. It's really important to be mindful of other people, wildlife and farm animals - especially when you're out and about with your dog.
- Planning a walk in the country
- Where do you have a right to walk?
- Other people and pets
- Farm animals.
Here's 8 things to think about before you set out on a countryside walk. It'll help you and you dog feel prepared!
1. Check you’re legal
By law, if your dog is out in public they must be:
- Wearing a collar with an ID tag that has your name and address on it.
2. Make sure you’re in control
You’re legally responsible for everything your dog does so it’s important to be in control. If they run off unattended they could get into trouble, get hurt or harm someone else. If your dog damages someone’s property or injures or kills a farm animal it can cause a lot of heartache, not to mention you’d be at risk of prosecution for the damages.
- Make sure your dog’s collar and harness fits well and they can’t slip or wriggle out of it.
- Keep your dog on a lead around farm animals or wildlife.
- Brush up on your dog’s training and practice some basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’ and ‘leave’.
- Pack tasty, healthy treats that your dog can’t resist. You’ll know your dog will come when you call!
- Check your Pet Insurance includes third party liability cover. This means your insurer will cover any damage caused by your dog.
3. Check the weather and be prepared
- Always seek out shade on hot days. Take regular breaks and plenty of water for you and your dog. Be aware of the signs of heatstroke so you’ll know if your dog is struggling in the heat.
- Kit your dog out with a well-fitting waterproof coat for snowy or wet weather. Understand the signs of hypothermia so you can spot if your dog needs help in the cold.
- Alabama rot has been linked with walks in wet and muddy woodland. Wash your dog after muddy woodland walks.
4. Avoid bringing home unwanted guests
- Make sure your dog’s flea treatment is up-to-date.
- Check your dog for ticks at the end of your walk. Carefully remove any ticks you find – or take your dog to your vet if you’re not sure of the proper technique.
- Ticks can spread illnesses like Lyme’s disease so keep a close eye on your dog’s health if they’ve had a tick bite.
5. Plan your route
- Have a map to hand.
- Check in advance if you and your dog are allowed on the land you plan to walk on.
- Find out as much as you can about where you are going, plan ahead and follow advice and local signs.
- Make sure that the walk isn’t too long for your dog. Healthy adult dogs can usually walk further than older dogs or puppies. Think ahead and take plenty of rests so they don’t get too tired or sore the next day.
6. Pack up
Here are some essentials to pack for your dog:
- Plenty of water and a portable dog bowl.
- Poo bags. Dog poo can spread diseases to other animals. Picking up your dog’s poo is a must!
You might want to bring these extras, too:
- A doggie first aid kit.
- A towel to dry them off.
- A pet GPS.
7. Get there and back safely
You’ll probably have to drive to and from your walk, unless you’re lucky enough to have the countryside on your doorstep. Keep your dog safe in the car by:
- Using a suitable dog carrier or a pet seatbelt to keep your dog secure and safe.
- Don’t leave your dog alone in the car. Temperatures can change suddenly and could be dangerous for your dog.
8. Follow the countryside code
You can read the countryside code online. These guidelines help let everyone enjoy the countryside. Here are some important points:
- Bin your litter or take it home with you (including poo bags!)
- Leave gates as you found them – closed gates need to be closed and open gates should stay open.
- Don’t climb over walls, fences or gates – it can cause damage.
- Stick to marked paths.
- Don’t damage historic monuments or ruins.