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Responsible Dog Ownership

The Borough Council’s dog wardens can provide advice on most dog-related issues.

Listed below is our general advice to dog owners.

  • You should make sure that your dog is registered with a reputable vet. A good vet will be able to give you useful information about worming, diet, vaccinations and neutering.
  • Get your dog microchipped. This will help to identify your dog if it's lost or stolen. Since April 2016, all dogs in England have to be microchipped from eight-weeks-old.
  • It is very important that your dog gets a lot of regular exercise. If you are exercising your dog in the park, or in open spaces, always remember that other people also have the right to use public facilities.
  • Get your dog insured. Insurance can cover expensive vet bills.
  • You are legally responsible for your dog. If your dog causes a road accident, or damages property, you have to cover any costs.
  • It is an offence to allow your dog to foul in a public place and not clear it up. You must carry the means with which to clean up after your dog (Public Spaces Protection Orders).
  • You should feed your dog at least twice a day with a good quality dog food. Limit the amount of treats you give it. An overweight dog is an unhealthy dog.
  • Make sure your dog has access to enough fresh water. You should also make sure you wash your dog's bowl properly after use.
  • Never leave a dog locked in a car. Even on cooler days, the temperature in a car can reach levels that prove fatal to dogs. Leaving the window open won’t make a difference.
  • You should make sure that your dog is house-trained and obedient enough to follow simple commands such as "come", "sit" and "stay". We can put you in touch with your nearest registered dog-training club.
  • Barking can annoy your neighbours. You may not be aware of the problem, particularly if you leave your dog for long periods. You should check with your neighbours to make sure that there are no issues with your dog barking. We can give you advice and help with any dog barking problem. Your neighbours can complain to the Council who can take legal action against you under the Environmental Act 1996.

Wear a yellow ribbon to warn others

The dog warden service supports the Yellow Dog initiative. This was created to bring awareness to dogs which need space while training, recovering from surgery or being rehabilitated. If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon, bandanna or similar on the lead or on the dog, this is a pet which needs some space. Please do not approach this dog, or its handlers, with your dog as they are indicating that their dog cannot be close to others. How close is too close? Only the dog or its handlers know, so maintain distance and give them time to move out of your way.

Speak to a dog warden when you see them and they will be able to tell you more about the project. More information is available at www.yellowdoguk.co.uk or you can download their leaflet here.


Consider having your dog neutered/castrated. This can help stop straying in male dogs and reduce unwanted litters of puppies.

Toxocara - the facts

Many people still do not understand why it is so important to clean up after dogs. We are very concerned about dog fouling because it can cause illness and disease. Toxocara eggs are present in the faeces of dogs that are not regularly wormed or vaccinated as well as pregnant bitches or puppies. You can catch toxocariasis if you swallow toxocara eggs.

Children and toddlers are most at risk (as they often play on the ground and put their fingers in their mouths) but adults can also catch toxocariasis. Find out more here

This is why we are committed to educating dog owners and enforcing the law. Please clean up after your dog.

Alabama Rot

Alabama Rot is a potentially deadly disease which damages dogs’ blood vessels. This can cause skin sores and sometimes kidney failure. The disease only affects dogs. Nearly all cases occur during winter and spring (between November and May) and is often reported in dogs that have been walked in muddy or woodland areas. 

The signs and symptoms can include:

  • ulcers and sores on the paws, legs and face
  • being sick
  • lack of appetite
  • lack of energy and feeling sleepy

If your dog shows any of these symptoms seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Vets are still unsure what causes Alabama Rot and how to prevent it but steps you can take that may protect your dog include:

  • avoid walking in muddy, woodland areas where Alabama Rot has been reported
  • wash any mud off your dog after being for a walk
  • check your dog regularly for any redness or sores around its paws, legs or face

Further information and to look at an interactive map of where Alabama Rot has been reported in the UK (external link)

If you have any comments or would like to make a dog-related complaint, contact us

Last updated 1 December 2020

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