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Eight dos and don'ts of walking your dog

How to keep your dog safe when you're out and about

A beagle dog being walked on a lead

Getting out in the fresh air to walk your dog should be a pleasure. Take a look at our hints and tips for staying safe and having fun when you're walking your dog.

Many dog owners cite companionship and exercise as good reasons for getting a dog. With the NHS recommending that adults get 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week, walking your dog will certainly help get your step count up.

But before you head off in to our beautiful countryside or your local park, there are some dos and don'ts you need to know.

Do make sure your dog has an ID tag.

Every dog should wear a collar with a tag that displays the owner's name and address. It's a legal requirement that your dog wears an ID tag when out in public and that they are microchipped. You can be fined up to £5,000 if your dog isn't wearing ID.

Wearing ID will help reunite you with your dog quicker if it gets lost when you're out on a walk. LV= pet insurance can also help pay for the cost of finding a lost or stolen pet.

Do walk your dog at least once a day.

Going out for a walk is very important for a dog. Even if you have a large garden, you should take your dog out to experience different sights, sounds and smells.

Dogs can get bored of their surroundings, and going out for a walk is great stimulation for their senses. Try to take your dog out for a walk before you leave it alone. That way it's more likely to settle down when you're not there.

Don't push your dog too far.

Different breeds need different amounts of walking. And very young and old animals will also need less walking.

As a general rule of thumb, puppies need about five minutes of exercise per month of age, twice a day. So a four-month-old puppy will need about 20 minutes of exercise twice a day.

Do pick up your dog's poo.

Even if you're in the countryside, it's good 'petiquette' to pick up your dog's poo. Be sure to carry plenty of poo bags and make sure your pet is wormed regularly.

Don't put up with pulling.

Walking your dog should be a pleasure for both you and your pooch. However, if your dog pulls on the lead all the time it can be miserable for both of you. Pulling on a lead attached to a flat collar can also cause severe throat and neck problems in dogs and lead to expensive vet fees.

There are special leads and harnesses available that help with this problem. Speak to your vet or a qualified vet behaviourist about how to encourage your dog to walk on a loose lead.

Do get your dog insured.

Unfortunately you never know what's around the corner. And whilst you take every precaution to keep your pet safe, there are times when it may run off and get in to difficulties, or pick up an illness from something it eats when it's out on a walk.

A good pet insurance policy will not only cover vet bills if your dog becomes ill or gets injured, but will also pay for damage caused by your dog to other people or property.

Don't let your dog worry sheep and cattle.

When you come across farm animals and horses, you must keep your dog under control. It's a good idea to keep your dog on a short lead around livestock as a farmer is allowed to shoot a dog that is chasing or attacking farm animals.

But if horses or cattle begin to chase you and your dog, you should let the dog off the lead. It will probably be safer for you if your dog can run away from the situation.

Do carry water with you.

Even on a short walk your dog will probably cover much more ground than you and can become thirsty when running around. Try to make sure they have access to a clean water supply during the walk.

Walking your dog should be a pleasure for both you and your pooch. However, if your dog pulls on the lead all the time it can be miserable for both of you.

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