A long walk in the countryside with our dog is as close as we can get to heaven on earth. Apart from, that is, a long run on a country trail with a strong team. But walking for miles off the beaten track can have its mishaps.

Following these ten simple tips may stop your day from becoming memorable for the wrong reasons.

1.    Check your dog is in good physical condition before setting out and check for fleas and other creepy crawlies after every walk. If he’s not used to long walks, build up the distance gradually. Remember that when he is off his lead, he’ll cover much more ground than you by darting backwards and forwards while investigating every interesting new smell.

2.    Make sure there are contact details on your dog’s collar in case he gets lost. One piece of vital information that many people may not think of adding is any medical needs.

3.    Tell someone where you are going and approximately what time you plan to return.

4.    Carry a basic first aid kit to cater for those nasty stings and cuts.

5.    Take plenty of water. Remember, dogs don’t lose heat by sweating. Avoid letting him drink from puddles or streams that may carry harmful bacteria. No one wants to carry a sick dog.

6.    In summer, walk during the cool parts of the day, ie, mornings and evenings. And check that your route has no dog restrictions.

7.    Pick up your dog’s poo. Being in the countryside doesn’t change the rules.

Ria on her walk with flexi lead

8.    Is your dog well trained? Will he come when called? If not, keep him on a lead, even out in the wilds and especially when other people or animals are approaching.

9.    Always carry dog treats and a toy, like a tennis ball. And a mobile phone, not that many people need reminding about that!

10.  But why carry all these bibs and bobs yourself? Dog backpacks allow your four-legged friend to share the load. Follow this link for details of dog backpacks stocked by Snowpaw Store.

- See more at: http://www.snowpawstore.com/news/top-10-dog-walking-tips#sthash.TnS98TUe.dpuf