Most dogs love being outside and given freedom to roam, but there are still things you can do to make the experience better for them, for you and for the environment.

Pick your place

You will probably have a special place where you like to walk your dog near to your home. But if you fancy a change you can also get advice on where to walk your dog from the Forestry Commission, British Waterways and publications such as Your Dog magazine.

The Countryside Code outlines what is required by law when you walk your dog. You are obliged to ensure that your dog wears a collar that states your name and address – you can get an engraved ID tag from the Kennel Club or from some pet shops. And you must clean up after your dog, especially when in public spaces.

Protecting wildlife

The Countryside Code also requests that you control your dog so that he does not disturb farm animals or wildlife such as lambs, sheep and cattle.

If you have a dog from puppy stage, get them into good habits early. Train him to know when and where he can run around, how to behave around wildlife, other dogs and people and how to listen out for signals to come back to you when off the leash.

The Countryside Code does not say that you have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as it is under close control. But you should keep it on a leash if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals. (Please note that Churchill Pet insurance does not cover your pet for worrying livestock)

Staying hydrated

If your dog is running around a lot, he will need even more water than usual. Plenty of water is even more essential if it is hot. Make sure you keep a supply on you or have a place where your dog can take a regular drink – a pond or lake that you know is clean, for example.

Don’t set off for a 10km walk if your dog isn’t in a fit state for it. They might be too young or too old or have a health problem, so know their limits and be gentle. Over-exertion can lead to health problems, which can put your pet at risk and also cost you a hefty sum in vet’s fees.

Lost or stolen dogs

If you lose your dog, search the area carefully. Call your vet, police station or dog warden and give them the details on the ID tag. Make posters and flyers and give these out where possible. If your dog is lost or stolen and you have Churchill pet insurance we can help you with the costs of local advertising and for a suitable reward to be offered for the recovery of the dog. This includes the cost of bringing your dog back to your home address. We could also compensate for theft or straying if your pet has not been found after 45 days.

Have fun

Don’t forget to have fun! You can make a dog walk even more enjoyable with dog-walking toys such as a ball-slinger. But even a bit of found wood can make a great toy for your dog, as long as you act responsibly and don’t let him run around out of control.