taking your dog out in public

Daily walks form an important part of our dog’s routine; a chance for them to stretch their legs (and ours!). As it’s something we do every day, we may not always be aware of some of the rules and restrictions in place when we wander through the park or woodland.

It’s always best to research your local authority’s website to understand the laws in place for your area. Below are a few general points to keep in mind when out in public with your dog:

1.  Cleaning up after your dog

We’ve all been unfortunate enough to tread in another dog’s mess; always clean up after your dog so pathways are clean for other users. Dog faeces might contain parasites which, if ingested, can make humans and livestock unwell. Make sure you practice scrupulous hand hygiene when you’re cleaning up after any dog. Although certain public areas might not legally require you to clean up after your dog (such as woodland or heathland), it’s a good idea to get into the habit of doing so every time. Not only are you protecting the environment, you’ll also avoid being issued with a fixed penalty fine.

2. Being mindful of livestock

When out walking your dog in the countryside, there’s a good chance you’ll come across a range of livestock. It’s important to keep your dog on a short lead when farm animals are close by. Dogs may become anxious and bark at, or attempt to chase them. Previously calm dogs might behave out of character and cause serious injury to farm animals. Cows or sheep protecting their young can become extremely aggressive if they feel threatened; they could seriously hurt you and your dog. Did you know it’s actually a criminal offence to allow a dog to worry sheep as they can become very poorly if stressed?

3. Walking with your dog on a lead

There are many other situations where you should keep your dog on a lead including: certain park areas, sports pitches, children’s playgrounds. Rules and restrictions for dog owners are normally displayed at the park entrance, or on the local authority’s website. Criminal punishments are severe if your dog injures another person or causes them to feel fearful about being attacked by your dog.

4. Maintaining a safe distance

This isn’t something we’ve needed to consciously consider before but maintaining social distancing is necessary on your daily dog walk. Be mindful of others when you plan your route and keep your dog under control at all times.

You can find more advice about UK dog laws, including when out in a public place at https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/public-spaces-protection-orders

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