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How to safely walk around cows

Walking with your dog through a field of cows can be an intimidating and nerve-wracking experience, so here are some tips to help keep you and your dog safe:

  • Never, ever walk in a field where there are cows with their calves. You will be putting yourself and your dog in serious danger.
  • Even if there are no calves with the cows in the field, if you can find an alternative route, do so.
  • If there is no alternative route, stay on the footpath and walk calmly through the field.
  • Always keep your dog on a lead when walking near livestock.
  • Be aware that cows are inquisitive creatures and will most likely come towards you to investigate you and your dog. If they are approaching at a leisurely pace they are most likely curious.
  • It can seem intimidating when the cows start to follow you but try to keep a steady pace and remain calm. Cows tend to match their pace to yours, so if you speed up they will too in order to keep up with you.
  • The cows may sniff and lick you and your dog, this is them taking in more scent of you both and getting a better look at your dog, because cows do not have a good depth of vision.
  • If you feel confident enough, you can turn and clap your hands and say something like ‘hey, hey, hey’ to shoo the cows away. Only do this if your behaviour is not going to upset your dog. Bear in mind the cows will move away quite skittishly, but they will most likely come back, so do not run towards the exit of the field, walk briskly but calmly.
  • If you reach a situation where you feel that you and your dog are in danger, you may decide to let your dog off the lead so you can both reach safety. Only do this in the most serious circumstances, and do be aware that your actions may risk in you and your dog being prosecuted for livestock worrying.

Are you afraid of cows? Watch our video on cow phobia (a fear of cows) to understand more about their body language and behaviour.

 

As part of NAWTs Cow Safety Campaign, we sent NAWT CEO Clare Williams to face her fears and learn how to confidently walk through a field of curious cows. This is the first step towards learning how to stay safe around cattle whilst walking a dog. Watch for top tips to keep you and your dog safe on countryside walks.

Field animals