VET’S VIEW: Walk your dog responsibly this summer

IS SUMMER really here? If so, then there’s nothing like enjoying long walks in our beautiful surrounding countryside with our four legged friends.

From rivers to beaches, downland to nature reserves, we are so lucky having such a varied landscape right on our doorsteps.

It all provides a home to all sorts of small mammals, birds and insects, like butterflies and moths.

When around livestock and in protected wildlife habitats, always keep dogs under control, on a short lead, to prevent other animals getting scared or aggravated. You can always detach the lead later.

Don’t forget poo bags! Even though you’re in the countryside, always pick up your dog’s poo and carry it until you reach a dustbin.

Don’t throw it in a bush – it’s ugly and, just as in urban areas, children playing outdoors are equally at risk from serious, worm-related illnesses, which can lead to blindness.

With so many inexpensive poo bag dispensers/holders on the market, there’s no excuse for keeping our countryside clean.

If planning a walk, make sure you and your dog have access to fresh drinking water.

Slip a regular or collapsible fabric dog bowl in your bag and take regular breaks, making sure that you both don’t get dehydrated.

Talking of hydration, research your walk before setting off, noting any dog-friendly pubs you may encounter en route!

Please be aware of summer dangers your dog maybe at risk from, too, including adders, grass seeds, ticks, fleas, allergies, and sunburn – we’ll look more closely at these in next week’s column.

Check your dog is fully vaccinated against common infectious diseases, such as leptospirosis.

Recently, I have visited some of my favourite local walks, including along the River Adur River and Southwick Hill.

So, all that’s left is to lace up your walking boots, fill up a flask, grab your dog and doggy supplies, and get going – happy walking!