Safety for dogs

In West Sussex we’re spoilt with beautiful fields, endless footpaths and access to amazing beaches. However, as dog owners its important to know where you can walk and when it is appropriate to let your dog off lead. To help make countryside dog walks safer and more stress-free for both dogs and farm animals, we’ve shared some of our top tips to help dog owners avoid causing unintentional injury or distress to sheep and cattle.

Firstly, it is important that your dog has a good recall before letting them off lead anywhere. Ensuring your dog listens and returns to you can prevent unwanted accidents, including running into roads, interacting with other dogs, pedestrians or cyclists, and avoiding unwanted attention.

Once you have decided on a location for a dog walk, the next step is to ensure you are aware of the footpaths to follow and highlight any prohibited fields. Farmers may be operating heavy machinery in these fields, so you do not want your dog to get too close, especially if certain fertilisers or chemicals are being sprayed. Please use maps to highlight the best footpaths, it is important to stay on these footpaths and not let your dog stray.

Walking your dog in the countryside exposes dog owners to risk of death and life-changing injuries by cattle. If your walk takes you through fields with livestock remember to keep your dog on its lead. Larger livestock such as cattle or horses can become dangerous if frightened, please be aware of your safety and your dogs. For more information on how to keep your dog and livestock safe in the countryside, please click here.

We always encourage our owners to ensure they take plenty of poo bags with them on their walks. It is always important to dispose of the bag in a bin, even when it states it is biodegradable. Please respect our county and clean up after your dog, thank you.

Black Labrador in the sun with its tongue out
Dog playing with ball on the beach
Woman and dog opening gate on a walk in the South Downs National Park