Monday 28 April to Bank Holiday Monday 5 May 2014
It is estimated 35 per cent of UK dogs (2.7m) do not get daily supervised exercise and that one third of pets are overweight as a result of their owners’ sedentary lifestyles.
According to the Kennel Club, the government’s recommendation that people should get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day could be achieved on a daily dog walk, so people are being urged to match this during their excursions with their pet.
Walk Your Dog Week aims to encourage people to tackle these issues by heading outside more often with their dogs to improve their pet’s health and condition.
Held from Monday 28 April to Bank Holiday Monday, 5 May 2014, the event has the backing of the PDSA, the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and Yellow Dog UK.
The Walk Your Dog Week challenge, for owners to walk their dog every day during the week, including time off the lead when appropriate, has been developed with vets at the PDSA to stimulate a change amongst dog owners to help transform the health and wellbeing of their dogs.
Simon Hodgson, Forestry Commission England’s Chief Executive, says: “We’re calling on dog owners up and down the country to take the Walk Your Dog Week challenge and help your dog get fit.
“A change of scene can be a great boost to motivation, so we’re recommending dog walkers head for one of our 1,500 woods and forests for locations that your dog and family can enjoy.
“They are the perfect place for dogs to get supervised exercise, including time off the lead, and explore the natural environment.”
Forestry Commission sites offer great opportunities to exercise dogs off the lead (provided the pets are under control so they can enjoy woods and forests alongside wildlife and other visitors), which means canine companions and their owners can really take the opportunity to get some great exercise.
To help dog-owners make the most of their visits, Forestry Commission England has published the Ruff Guide to the Forest, offering local information on dog-friendly activities in more than 35 woods and forests and their surrounding areas.
Many of these woods and forests have dog agility trails and way-marked trails that offer physical challenges for dogs and owners.
According to recommendations from the Kennel Club, a dog’s exercise needs vary according to the breed and the pet’s age, but every dog should have at least one walk a day, often two.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, says: “Walk Your Dog Week very much fits in with the Kennel Club’s promotion of responsible dog ownership and we are thrilled to be able to support it.
“The campaign encourages dog owners to get out and about with their four-legged friends, making sure they get an appropriate level of regular exercise, which is a big part of being a responsible owner.
“No matter where you live you are never far from Forestry Commission woodland, so we’d recommend responsible owners make the most of this and go and explore the best of the British countryside with your dog.”
Walk Your Dog Week will also launch a range of other special, dog-friendly events available at Forestry Commission sites during the coming months. More information is available at www.forestry.gov.uk/dogs.