Dog walking

Dog walking in the wetlands

Keep your dog safe

For the latest information on the 'Alabama Rot' disease affecting some dogs in the New Forest click here.

Much of the New Forest is ‘wild’ and unfenced; it’s a great place for people and dogs to explore. However, there are also potential hazards such as snakes with poisonous venom, ticks which like human and canine blood and many exciting smells and sounds that might tempt your dog to run for miles and not come back!

Across much of the National Park, there are many ponies, cattle, sheep, pigs and donkeys and also wild deer. The sight and scent of these animals can cause some dogs to run off and there have been some sad cases of animals being badly hurt or killed by dogs. It is an offence to allow a dog to chase or attack livestock. Your dog may itself be in danger from cattle or ponies especially those with young if they perceive a threat. If you feel threatened by cattle you should let your dog off its lead so that you can escape quickly, leaving your dog to look after itself. Remember that if your dog runs across a road and causes an accident you, as the owner, would be responsible.

The New Forest Hounds and New Forest Beagles hunt an artificially laid trail in the New Forest, as the law allows, on Tuesdays and Saturdays between September and March. The hounds and beagles pose absolutely no threat to yourself or to your dog, but you should be aware that your dog may think it would be fun to join in!

Work such as tree felling, scrub clearance, burning and crop management take place throughout the year and do not usually mix well with dogs; there are risks to both the operators and the dogs, so look out for signs and keep well away.

Adders live in many of the open areas of the New Forest and can be found throughout the spring and summer when they are not hibernating. If you suspect your dog has been bitten by an adder, go to a vet as quickly as possible as time can make a huge difference to recovery.

Ticks are very common in the New Forest and may attach themselves to people or dogs. Some carry disease, of which Lyme Disease is the best known. If you find a tick on your dog, be careful to remove the whole tick with a tick remover which can be purchased from a vet.

'Dog dipping’ in the Forest’s mires, ponds and rivers can cause damage to banks and vegetation and also poses risks of infection to dogs (eg Weil’s Disease).

  1. Dog walking
  2. Great places to walk your dog
  3. Keep your dog safe (you are here)
  4. Help protect wildlife
  5. Please think of others
  6. New Forest Dog Walking Code
  7. Show you care


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