Safety Advice for dogs

The Coast Path is the perfect place for dog walking, with 630 miles of exciting smells and things to look at, but the Trail does require extra care at times. Unfortunately there are incidences each year when dogs end up losing their footing on cliff edges, or worry grazing farm animals, so for their welfare and yours, here are our top tips for staying safe and making the most out of the Coast Path with your dog:

Top tips for keeping your dog safe on the National Trail

  • Always keep your dog in sight; use a lead if you don’t have a reliable recall.
  • Carry water for your dog – they can easily get dehydrated in summer. Collapsible travel bowls are available and many cafes provide dog bowls. 
  • Keep your dog away from cliff edges – they are often loose and home to rabbits.
  • Clip on a short lead around sheep, cows and horses, irrespective of how well trained your dog is. It’s safer for everyone.
  • If you feel threatened by cattle, unclip the lead so you can get away separately.
  • Don’t let your dog run up to other people uninvited – not everyone likes dogs. People have stepped out of the way of dogs on cliffs with fatal consequences.
  • Always bag it and bin it wherever you are. Otherwise you give all dog owners a bad name and can pass on diseases to people and farm animals.
  • Ensure your dog has a name tag and is micro-chipped so you can be easily reunited if your dog gets lost. If on holiday, have a temporary tag with your contact on it.
  • In areas of mining heritage be aware there may be uncapped mineshafts hidden in the undergrowth near the path, so keep your dog close.
  • Occasionally white, waxy lumps of palm oil is washed up on beaches, which can be harmful if eaten by dogs - see BeachWise digital leaflet for advice.
  • Dogs die in hot cars, especially as the sea breeze makes you think it’s cooler than it really is.
  • Be tick aware. Guidance is available on The Kennel Club website.

Support from the doggy community

One of the South West Coast Path Association's sponsors is Forthglade, the natural pet food producers, read about our partnership here.