The UK is one of the finest countries in the world for walks. History has blessed us with a vast network of public rights of way and the Ordnance Survey, one of the world’s largest producers of maps. Most, if not all, paths allow dogs. However, be considerate of the landowner, particularly around livestock on farms. Keep dogs on lead when asked and don’t let your dog foul the path. Also be considerate of other people using the path – for everyone’s safety, keep your dog on a short lead when mountain bikers are around.
Dogs need to build their fitness as much as humans do. So don’t expect to tackle a 15 mile hike without any training. They also need to learn ‘trail sense’ – for example, learning to pace themselves and picking sensible routes along rough or steep terrain. Sometimes it’s best to keep dogs on a short lead to avoid injury, particularly around steep drops and cliff tops. Take lots of fresh water and poop bags. If you think you might be out for a while, you might want to consider some food and a dog first-aid kit too.
Some easy to use and helpful websites:
Things to discuss with your vet
If you are planning to go for a walk in woodlands or areas with long grass, particularly during the summer months, it is a good idea to think about ticks and tick prevention. Ticks are small parasites that can attach to the skin of your dog and other animals (including humans!). When the tick first attaches it is often as small as a pin-head but it will increase in size as it feeds. It is important to be vigilant for ticks as they can be vectors for some nasty diseases, such as Lyme Disease, and can also cause irritation to the skin where they have attached. You should check your dog thoroughly and any ticks should be removed as soon as possible to minimise the risk of disease, but it is very important that they are removed in the correct manner. Proprietary tick removal devices are available and your vet will be able to show you how to use them. They will also be able to advise you on suitable preventative spot-on or spray treatments to use before you go.