Mountaineering Scotland is offering advice to keep four-legged friends well and happy on the hill

Mountaineering Scotland is offering advice to keep four-legged friends well and happy on the hill

Experts are offering advice to hillwalkers who take their dogs on to Scotland’s mountains.

Mountaineering Scotland has set up online information for hillgoers to safeguard their animals’ wellbeing.

The organisation, which represents climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers north of the border, said: “More and more people are adopting outdoor lifestyles and seeking the mental and physical benefits of walking in Scotland’s countryside and mountains. And many are also keen to take their best four-legged friends along with them.

“But as numerous social media posts have shown, many dog owners encounter problems when their pets prove unable to go the distance or – the opposite problem – when their dog decides ‘walkies’ aren’t over yet and goes missing.

“When taking dogs into the countryside it’s easy enough to find advice on legal responsibilities, about keeping them under control near livestock or ground-nesting birds, but tips on looking after the dog’s welfare can be harder to track down.”

The information for the pages was compiled by Mountaineering Scotland members with many years’ experience and expertise in sharing their mountaineering with their dogs, both in summer and in winter.

The new section in the hillwalking segment of the organisation’s website contains several pages of advice on walking the hills and mountains with a dog: how to keep it safe, comfortable and happy, as well as within the law.

Advice includes tips on terrain and weather, food and water, first aid for dogs, and how to control dogs in different situations.

Mountaineering Scotland member Anne Butler, who is also vice-president of The Munro Society and has climbed all Scotland’s munros five times over, is seldom seen on the hill without her collie Ralph.

She said: “My dogs are great companions in the hills and get excited whenever they see my boots come out. But you can’t just take a dog into the hills and expect it to be able to walk for miles, know how to avoid cliffs and cornices, and have its own internal map for getting home.

“You have to introduce dogs gradually and be aware that for all their energy they’ll still have limitations and you have to be responsible for their wellbeing.

“We’ve tried in these web pages to highlight some of the most important points dog owners need to think about if they want their pets to become their hillwalking partners.”

The advice can be found on Mountaineering Scotland’s website.

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