Dog ownership is a great joy, but it comes with responsibilities and sadly every year the PC hears of tragic cases that result when those responsibilities are not taken seriously. Below is excellent advice from the Kennel Club to ensure you are a responsible dog owner.
Dos and Don’ts of Owning a Dog: Law and Responsibilities
Understanding dog law and your responsibilities
Here are some important considerations any new dog owner should take into account when bringing a puppy or a dog into the home:
- The Control of Dogs Order 1992 requires that any dog in a public place must wear a collar tag with the name and address of the owner written on it. Your telephone number is optional.
- It is now compulsory to microchip your dog by law. Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found database for microchipped pets, is a service that gives you the best chances of being reunited with your dog should it go missing.
- The Petlog Premium Lost and Found service can even alert local vets and dog wardens when an owner reports when and where their pet was lost. This can be done by telephone, SMS text message, via the Petlog website or through the my dog uk mobile app. However, it is vital to the effectiveness of this service that owners keep their contact details up to date, at all times.
- Attend dog training classes. Remember – a trained dog is a happy dog!
- Keep your dog under control at all times.
- Keep your dog on a lead around livestock and during birds’ ground nesting season (1 March – 31 July). Sheep in particular get very stressed by strange dogs, especially around lambing time, and it is a criminal offence to allow your dog to ‘worry’ (i.e. chase or attack) livestock. This does not have to involve actual physical harm. Farmers are allowed to shoot dogs worrying their animals.
- Train your dog to use the kerb correctly.
- Always clean up after your dog. Please do NOT bag poo and then leave the bag on the ground or in vegetation:
- Keep your dog close to you when walking it on a lead.
- Respect the Countryside Code.
- Give your dog the correct amount of exercise and play it needs.
- Feed your dog a balanced, nutritious diet with adequate food and water.
- Worm your dog routinely.
- Register your dog with your local vet, attend annual health checks and ensure your dog is adequately immunised/vaccinated.
- Take out veterinary insurance to cover any unforeseen injuries or illnesses.
- Groom your dog regularly.
- When planning your holidays, make sure you consider your dogs. When possible why not include them? Check out our Be Dog Friendly page to appreciate the breadth of opportunity available. If you must leave your dogs behind make suitable arrangements for your dog in good time and ensure all vaccination certificates are up to date if you book them into kennels.
- Consider that adult dogs of either sex can be neutered to avoid unwanted puppies.
- Consider either third party legal liability insurance or take out specific canine insurance in case your dog causes damage or an accident.
- REMEMBER – not everybody loves dogs. Only a minority of the population are dog owners – respect the views of others.
- Don’t allow your dog to foul footpaths, parks or public places. Local authorities have the power to make it an offence punishable by a fine. See the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.
- Don’t allow your dog to interfere with passers-by in the street.
- Don’t allow your dog to make unnecessary noise.
- Don’t take your dog to places they are explicitly barred. These might include children’s play parks, some shops and some beaches. Local Authorities can also introduce Dog Control Orders that restrict access for dogs in specified areas. Most places where restrictions apply will have signs.
- Don’t allow your dog to roam freely in grazed fields or through crops.
- Don’t allow your dog to chase livestock or wildlife.
- Don’t leave your dog alone for long periods of time – dogs feel lonely just like humans.
- Don’t allow your dog to roam the streets or countryside unsupervised.
- Don’t spoil your dog
- Don’t leave your dog unattended in a vehicle for any period of time or left in vehicles on hot days.