Most dogs love going on new walks so are perfect companions for walking holidays. Chose a location where there will be plenty of opportunity to leave your dog friendly accommodation and head straight out on a choice of footpath routes, for example, within a National Park such as the Lake District, Peak District or the North Yorkshire Moors. These areas have lots to offer if you wish to explore the great outdoors and like wide open spaces, great views and challenging walks. You are likely to find well marked and maintained footpaths with beautiful countryside, inspiring landscapes and opportunities to explore a new area away from roads.
Local tourist offices will provide routes best suited to dog walkers, taking into account obstacles such as stiles, cattle grids (though there are often gates beside these), and the presence of livestock, particularly important in the Spring months when there are lambs and calves about.
Make sure you research each walk before you set out, taking with you a route map, an Ordinance Survey Map and potentially a gps tracker or compass. Footpaths can be diverted or become disused or if you’re walking and talking with your companion, it’s easy to miss a turn and then potentially become lost so make sure you have means of finding your way again.
Be prepared to keep your dog on a lead, particularly if crossing through fields containing farm animals. It is an offence to allow a dog to chase livestock. Be aware also that horses can easily be spooked, so keep your dog on a close lead when encountering horses on bridleways. Legally though, owners are not required to use a lead on a footpath as long as the dog is under control and stays on the path. A collar with ID and a microchip are essential, just in case your dog gets lost.
You’ll need to pack poo bags in your rucksack. The law requires you to clear up after your dog in public places. The exception to this is agricultural land, woodlands, rural common land and marshland, moor and heath. That said, it is advisable to clear up after your dog, removing faeces from pathways. Canine faeces may carry diseases that can affect humans, farm animals and wildlife. Make sure your dog is regularly wormed to protect it, other animals and people.
Finally, don’t forget to pack towels and/or wet wipes to avoid muddy paws taking dirt into your holiday home. Take along a brush to remove dirt from your dog’s coat at the end of a walk and keep a tick remover handy just in case it picks up one of these pesky insects.