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Outward bound – adventures with your dog

Fancy going wild in the country with your canine chum this summer? Before you set off to hike up hilltops, tackle forest trails or power along coastal paths, make sure you’re both well prepared.

What to take on your trip with your dog

  • Pack a rucksack of essentials including poop bags, water, bowl, spare lead, snacks and food (canine and human), waterproof jacket and mobile phone. Also take a map and a compass – lots of remote, rural areas are out of signal range.
  • A well-fitting harness can be a valuable addition to your dog’s kit – not only does it offer you more control if you hit a sticky situation (you don’t want your dog slipping out of their collar and making a run for it if they get spooked by something), wearing a harness makes it easier to haul them out of trouble, for example, if they accidently slip down a bank into a river.
  • Be wary of extendable leads. Although these can provide dogs with a little more freedom while remaining on a leash, they can also result in all manner of injuries. For example, they can yank a dog's neck if they suddenly run out of lead while sprinting at speed, which can be damaging to the neck muscles or cause serious injury, while also jolting your shoulder and back. A traditional long-line lead will allow your dog more a little more liberty, while enabling you to keep control.
  • To cover all eventualities, consider investing in a GPS dog tracker. These attach to your dog’s collar and can be paired with a smartphone app to accurately monitor their location if they get lost.
  • Put together a basic first aid kit for yourself with plasters for blisters, antihistamine and sun cream, and one for your dog, with a roll of self-adhesive or crepe bandage, some non-adhesive absorbent dressings, surgical sticky tape, blunt ended scissors, tweezers and tick hook. Bookmark your phone with websites of local vets for when you’re away from home, such as Find a Vet.

Is your dog’s training up to scratch? What type of walking adventure should you embark on? Are you prepared for the unexpected? Check out all the things you need to think about to ensure that you both have a wonderful time exploring the great outdoors, rather than a series of misadventures >>

Top tips on planning and enjoying your outdoor adventure

  • When choosing a route, check that dogs are allowed on the trails you plan to explore and whether or not they can go off-lead. For example, some nature reserves require dogs to be kept on a lead at all times to avoid the risk of them disturbing wildlife.
  • Ensure both you and your dog are fit enough to tackle the route you’ve chosen. If you walk for a couple of hours together every day, then you should be able to tackle a five-to-10-mile route. If your walking routine generally consists of a couple of half-hour strolls, then something closer to three to four miles will likely be far enough. If you’ve any concerns about your canine chum’s fitness, have a chat with your vet.
  • Most dogs always want to please their owners and will keep faithfully padding along beside you, even if they’re finding the going tough. Watch your dog closely for signs of discomfort and if they start panting heavily or slow right down, it’s time to let them have a long rest before turning tail and heading back to base.
  • As dogs can’t sweat through their skin to cool down like we do (they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature) avoid strenuous hiking in full sun during the hottest part of the day. A gentle ramble in a shaded woody area is a far better choice. Stop for water breaks frequently and make sure you carry enough fresh water for you and your canine companion. Don’t let them drink water from puddles, rivers or lakes as this can contain tiny parasites that, in extreme cases, can be fatal to dogs.
  • Even the best-trained dogs can’t resist some temptations such as the whiff of a squirrel and will choose to ignore your calls to come back. Unless you’re absolutely sure that your dog will stay close by as you yomp along and return in an instant when you ask them to, it’s better to keep them on the lead in unfamiliar territory where you can never be sure what’s around the corner.
  • If you have to go through a field of cattle, don’t panic and don’t run. Put your dog on a lead and walk calmly and quietly through the field, staying away from the herd. Close all gates behind you. If you spot a horse on a bridleway, remember not to get too close to the animal. Keep your dog calm so they’re not tempted to bark, and don’t shout or run, in case you startle the horse.
  • When the adventure is over, always check your dog over thoroughly. Look carefully at their paws, ears, eyes, nose, tail and ‘armpit’ area. Things to look for include ticks, grass seeds, burrs, mites, twigs and thorns – anything that could cause them discomfort or, if left undiscovered, cause illness or injury. Seek veterinary advice immediately if your dog shows any signs of being unwell.
  • Round off the day by giving them a special treat or toy, a comfy bed to rest their paws and by telling them they’ve been a very good dog indeed! Then you can plan your next great adventure together...

From seaside saunters and rambles in the forest, to ambles around stylish country estates, check out some of the best places around the country to walk your dog this summer >>

Is your dog a Burgess dog? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.  

CARE MORE Find out more about caring for your dog from Burgess, the pet experts >>

At Burgess, all our dog foods are made using premium ingredients to ensure excellent quality and superior taste to help keep your dog happy and healthy – from puppy, to adult and senior. We’ve also developed foods to meet the specific nutritional needs of sporting and working dogsGreyhounds and Lurchers, and dogs with sensitivities. And we’re very proud of our Paul O'Grady's 'No Nasties' dog food range, which comes in Hypoallergenic and Grain Free varieties. All Burgess dog food is a complete food. This means, whatever variety you choose for your dog, it will contain all the nutrients they need in the correct balance.

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