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You and Your Dog in the Countryside

You and Your Dog in the Countryside

National statistics indicate that one third of all people who enjoy the countryside are accompanied by their dogs, and dog walkers are believed to be the most frequent visitors (Source: Univeristy of Portsmouth). Most pet owners are aware that dogs encourage people to exercise, and walking can lead to many physical, social and psychological benefits. The countryside is a great place to exercise dogs, but it is every owner’s duty to make sure their pet is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, wildlife, or other people. Remember that you share the outdoors with other people and animals and we should all respect them.
Britain is a wonderful place to walk and offers an immense variety of landscapes. You can find hills, parkland, woodlands, rugged mountains, fens, river valleys and an interesting coastline. All are within easy reach by public transport and offer something for everyone. Arrange to meet up for a regular local walk, form a group or arrange a holiday in another part of the country.
Look at our Links pages which will take you to websites that give lots of information on walking in Britain, and search for pet friendly holiday accommodation to find places which happily accept you and your dogs. The benefits of walking with your dog are endless, both for you and your canine companion - so make time for walking.

A few basic precautions to consider are:
Are dogs allowed where you plan to walk? If you are unsure, check before you leave.
Is your dog ready? Before going on a long walk consider if your dog is healthy enough, has the desire and is trained well enough to walk with you. Train your dog if necessary. A dog who is well behaved results in a more enjoyable walk. Start slowly and build up the distance over weeks, wear sensible shoes or walking boots and take care of your dog's feet, checking for scratches, cuts, grass seeds between the toes and for ticks.
Don't let your dog become over-heated, if he does get hot do not soak him in cold water as this can cause more problems- but lay a towel or another items soaked in water over his body for a while to cool him down.
Carry a small First Aid Kit for your dog. See our Health and Welfare section for accessories and our article on First Aid for your Pet.

The Countryside Code
sets out some useful guidelines that can help you and your dog stay safe and enjoy your walks:
Pawprint By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife.
Worrying livestock means attacking or chasing any farm animal or poultry - there does not have to be any contact.
Pawprint You must keep your dog on a short lead on most areas of open country and common land between 1 March and 31 July, and at all times near farm animals.
Pawprint You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public footpaths, as long as it is under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.
Pawprint Take particular care that your dog doesn’t scare sheep and lambs or wander where it might disturb birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife - eggs and young will soon die without protection from their parents.
Pawprint Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and how it can cause infections, so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly. Also, make sure your dog is wormed regularly to protect it, other animals and people. See the advert for Muksak on our Health and Welfare pages for some product ideas.
Pawprint Please follow any signs, do not stray and remember to leave the countryside as you found it.

You can find out more about these rules by visiting the Countryside Access website for England for Wales for Scotland

Take sensible precautions when travelling, for the safety of you, your dog and your surroundings.

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Find yourself a really good pet friendly holiday home with
Paws In Britain. The UK has a lot to offer if you are looking for beautiful countryside, interesting towns and villages, and great walking. We have a large selection of self-catering cottages, lodges, bed and breakfast, guest houses, hotels and inns to choose from where you and your pets are welcome.

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