Dog walkers copyright Charlie Hedley

Dog walking

Follow the advice below to keep your pet safe, protect the environment and show you're a responsible dog owner.

Paws for thought

Please clear up your dog mess

Please clear up all dog mess and dispose of it responsibly in litter bins. Please don't hang it in plastic bags from trees or walls. This is unsightly and also hazardous to wildlife when the bags eventually fall off.

When do I need to keep my dog on a lead?

When on a public right of way, you don't have to keep your dog on a lead (unless in Copeland Borough) - but it must always be under close control. If you cannot rely on its obedience, it's probably best to keep it on a lead. All sorts of irresistible scents could make your dog dash off.

Dogs must be on a lead on all rights of way and highways within Copeland Borough. Copeland covers the west of the National Park along the coast and areas such as Ennerdale and Gosforth. Please see Copeland Borough Council's Dog Control Orders page (opens in new window) and contact them if this is an issue.

On Open Access land, you must keep your dog on a short fixed lead (up to 2 metres) between 1 March and 31 July, and at all other times when near farm animals.


Even well-behaved dogs can scare wildlife away from their young. Disturbance during the breeding season for ground-nesting birds (1 March - 31 July) can lead to eggs not hatching. Predators can also take young chicks if their distracted parents leave them unguarded.

By keeping your dog on a short fixed lead and keeping to tracks during this time, you can help protect our wildlife. Please respect official signs restricting access.

Farm animals

Sheep at a show

Livestock will often see your dog as a threat, even if it isn’t. Usually sheep and lambs will run away from a dog. If chased, sheep become very distressed and the stress could kill young and unborn animals.

Cows are curious creatures and may approach you. If calves are nearby, cows may become aggressive and try to protect their young. If this happens, drop the lead and get to a place of safety. Your dog will be able to get clear of any danger on its own.

It is an offence to allow a dog to worry livestock. If your dog does worry livestock, then it could be shot by the farmer. To avoid such a distressing situation, look ahead and keep your dog on a lead when you might encounter farm animals.

Also when passing through farmyards, gardens or anywhere other dogs are likely to be roaming free, please keep your dog on a lead. Your forethought shows courtesy to the landowner and helps avoid any confrontational situations.

Other people

Look out for cyclists, runners and horseriders. They can startle your dog - or your dog could startle them - so it's best to put your dog on a lead as they come past.

Even the most friendly pet can make other people feel uncomfortable. Don't let your dog approach other people or their dogs unless you're sure they're happy about this.

Looking after your dog

Heat stroke

If your dog is panting excessively and is having difficulty breathing:

  • 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 a vet.


Ticks are potentially harmful parasites which can spread harmful diseases. Check for ticks every day; they look like a dark, smooth pea. They must not be squeezed or pulled off - ask your vet how to remove them safely.

Insect stings

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

Adder bites

Keep your dog still and calm. If possible, don't allow it to walk; carry it instead. Leave the bite wound alone and contact a vet immediately.

Useful links

All websites open in a new window, unless stated otherwise:

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Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

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