Every dog owner has a duty of care to make sure that their dog gets at least one walk every day. Dog walking is something that the whole family can enjoy and, better still, it costs nothing at all – only your time.
Frequently asked questions about walking your dog
How long should I walk my dog for?
The government recommends that we get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day and this is something that everybody can achieve - and go beyond - on a daily dog walk. The amount of exercise your dog needs will vary according to its breed, but every dog should have at least one walk a day, often two.
Refer to our Breeds A to Z to find out more about the exercise needs of your chosen breed.
How good is walking for me and my dog?
Although dog walking is not a high-intensity workout, it is great for cardiovascular development, strengthening of muscles and bones and lowering blood pressure.
What do I need to remember?
- If you're planning on making a day of it when you set out for a walk, then remember to check if any pit-stops are dog friendly
- Always take poo bags with you so that you can dispose of your dog's mess safely and cleanly
- You are obliged by law to ensure your dog wears a collar and an identification tag stating your name and address (Control of Dogs Order 1992). You can purchase tags and have them engraved in our online shop
What should I do if I lose my dog?
- In the first instance you need to report your dog as missing to your local dog warden. If your dog has been picked up then it is likely to have ended up there
- Notify your microchip database. If someone tries to update the details, they will notify you that this is happening
- Contact websites such as Dog Lost - they can help spread the word
- Social media is great at spreading the word. Be sure to attach a photo of your dog and provide the relevant details. Many dogs have been reunited with their owners through social platforms
- Next, contact your local vets in the area - they too can receive dogs which have strayed away from their owners
- Local rehoming centres can also receive lost dogs
Puppies vs dogs
Puppies need much less exercise than fully grown dogs. If you over-exercise a growing puppy you can overtire it and damage its developing joints, causing early arthritis. A good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown e.g. 15 minutes (up to twice a day) when 3 months old, 20 minutes when 4 months old and so on. Once they are fully grown, they can go out for much longer.
It is important that puppies and dogs go out for exercise every day in a safe and secure area, or they may become frustrated. Time spent in your garden, however large it may be, is no substitute for exploring new environments and socialising with other dogs. Make sure your puppy is trained to return to you when you call their name.
You should never exercise your puppy on a full stomach as this can contribute to bloat.
It is important that you are aware of the Countryside Code to keep your pet safe, protect the environment and show that you are a responsible dog owner.
The Countryside Code
- Control your dog so that it does not scare or disturb farm animals or wildlife
- When using the 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. You may not be able to take your dog at all on some areas or at some times. Please follow any official signs
- You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as they are under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on their obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals
- 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 them
- 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
- Across the UK, 7 in 10 livestock attacks are caused by unaccompanied dogs, e.g. dogs that have escaped your garden. Make sure your garden is escape-proof
Places to walk your dogs
Below is a selection of resources which provide suggested walks that both you and your dog can enjoy:
- Forestry England - Help and advice on walking your pet in woodlands around England
- Outdoor Access Scotland - Guidance on walking your dog in forests in Scotland
- Woodland Trust - Find woodlands managed by the Woodland Trust to walk your dog in
- British Waterways - Information on how you and your dog can discover Britain's 4,000 miles of rivers, lakes and canals
- The Ridgeway - This national trail follows a route through the countryside which has been used since prehistoric times
- Canal and River Trust - Find dog friendly places on the canals and rivers