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Secretary Hilary Kerr

You And Your Dog In The Countryside

Explore, enjoy and help look after the countryside with your dog.

Extracts from the leaflet by former committee member Steve Jenkinson and available from Countryside Access.
Published here with the MBCC's thanks.

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Six steps to worry-free walks:
~ 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 – and 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 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.

~ 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.

~ 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 - eggs and young will soon die without protection from their parents.

~ 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.

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The Countryside Code.
Be safe — plan ahead and follow any signs.
Even when going out locally, it’s best to get the latest information about where and when you can go. For example, your rights to go onto some areas of open land may be restricted while work is carried out for safety reasons, or during breeding seasons. Follow advice and local signs, and be prepared for the unexpected.

Leave gates and property as you find them.
Please respect the working life of the countryside, as our actions can affect people’s livelihoods, our heritage, and the safety and welfare of animals and ourselves.

Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home.
We have a responsibility to protect our countryside now and for future generations, so make sure you don’t harm animals, birds, plants or trees.

Keep dogs under close control.
The countryside is a great place to exercise dogs, but it’s every owner’s duty to make sure their dog is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, wildlife or other people.

Consider other people.
Showing consideration and respect for other people makes the countryside a pleasant environment for everyone – at home, at work and at leisure.

Wherever you go, following these steps will help keep your pet safe, protect the environment, and show you are a responsible dog owner.

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Emergency Situations.
The information below will help with some emergency situations that can arise when out for a walk, during those initial moments before you get advice from a vet.

You can best prepare for medical emergencies in advance by: attending an animal first aid course run at local colleges and vets’ surgeries; carrying a simple dog first aid kit – this can be used to help humans too; learning life-saving and training skills at a Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme; having pet health insurance.

Road accidents, fractures and falls:
~ Keep calm so as not to cause panic.
~ Make sure you and your dog aren’t in further danger; keep the dog warm.
~ If you need to move the dog out of danger, do so slowly and gently. If it can’t walk, use a coat, board or blanket as a stretcher.
~ Try to stem blood flow from cuts with a pad and firm pressure; press around any foreign objects – such as broken glass or metal – to avoid pushing them further in.
~ Dogs can appear paralysed after a severe accident, but this can be temporary. Never assume an animal is beyond help – follow veterinary advice.
~ Internal injuries are not always obvious; contact your vet immediately if your pet is off-colour within 24 hours of an accident.

Many garden and agricultural chemicals can be attractive to dogs but fatal, so never let your pet out of your sight or let it eat what it finds when out for a walk. If you think your dog has ingested something poisonous, phone the vet immediately and keep any labels, containers or samples with you to help the vet decide the best treatment.

DO NOT make your dog sick without first consulting your vet.

Heat stroke:
This occurs to dogs when exercised in hot weather, or left in cars on even moderately warm days. They will pant excessively and may vomit, collapse, have fits or difficulty breathing.

If heat stroke occurs:
~ keep the dog calm. Move it into the shade, a cool room or building, or near a fan or breeze;
~ cool all of your dog with water, paying particular attention to the head;
~ let your dog drink small amounts of cool water frequently. Call the vet.

Insect stings:
If a sting is left in your dog, scrape it away with a fingernail or credit card; do not squeeze or grasp it. Cool the area with a wet cloth to help reduce pain and swelling. If in doubt, contact your vet.

Adder bites:
If your dog is bitten by an adder, keep it still and calm. If possible, don't allow it to walk; carry it instead. Leave the bite wound alone; contact a vet immediately.

These potentially harmful parasites are particularly likely to be encountered in spring and autumn, especially where sheep and deer live. Check your dog for ticks every day; they can resemble a dark, smooth pea.

Have them removed immediately, as they can spread harmful diseases. They must not be squeezed or pulled off. Ask your vet how to do this safely.

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You can find out more and download or order this entire leaflet from Countryside Access.

All content © The Midlands Border Collie Club.