• Alex Batho

Advice for Dog Walkers

The Countryside Code has published six steps to ensure walking your dog in the countryside is as safe as possible. These are:

1. Control your dog so that it does not scare or disturb farm animals or wildlife.

2. When using new access rights over open country and common land you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July - and all year round near farm animals - and you may not be able to take your dog at all on some areas or at some times. Please follow any official signs.

3. You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, 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.

4. If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead - don't risk getting hurt by trying to protect it.

5. Take particular care that your dog doesn't scare sheep or 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.

6. Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and 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.

Dogs can suffer from heat stroke in hot weather, or if left shut in cars. They will pant excessively and may vomit, collapse, have fits of difficulty breathing.

If heat stroke occurs:

1. Keep the dog calm. Move it into the shade, a cool building or room near a fan or breeze.

2. Cool all of your dog with water, paying particular attention to the head.

3. Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water frequently.

4. Call a vet.

Finally check your dog for ticks after a walk, especially if you've been through a wooded area or near bracken. If you find a tick, remove it straight away with tweezers, or better still a special tick remover. Well' that's the serious bit out of the way. Now it's time to enjoy a guided dog walk around some of the best places in England for walking your dog.