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You and your dog in the Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park welcomes responsible dog owners. They are plenty of walks for you and your best friend; good accommodation options that offer a warm welcome to you both  and a range of support services like vets and pet supply shops.

To find attractions,  pubs, restaurants and shops that allow dogs please use the fast search box on the right and tick pets allowed. Enjoy your visit to the Cairngorms National Park with your four legged friends!

 1.    The Scottish Outdoor Access Code

You and your dog have a right of access in Scotland as long as your dog is under proper control. Out of control dogs can cause serious problems of disturbance to wildlife, worry and injury of livestock and alarm to other people and the following information is intended to ensure that you have an enjoyable visit with your dog, whilst allowing land managers and the wild-life to go about their business unaffected by your dog’s presence. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides information and guidance for recreational users, and land managers about responsible access to Scotland outdoor spaces. There is a specific leaflet aimed at dog owners which contain key messages from the Code which can be found here.    

2.  In the countryside

If you are walking your dog through farm or crofting land, you may encounter livestock which may be curious, frightened or threatened by your presence. Following these simple guidelines should help you and your dog safe and happy:

•    Never let your dog worry or attack livestock

•    Do not take your dogs into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young animals

•    If you go in a field of farm animals keep as far as possible from the animals and keep your dog on a short lead or under close control (i.e. on a short lead or close at heel)

•    If cattle reach aggressively and move towards you, keep calm, let the dog go and take the shortest, safest route out of the field

•    Do not take your dog into a field of fruit and vegetables unless you are on a clear path, such as a core path or right of way

•    Pick up your dog’s poo and take it away

3. On the hill

If you are out and about on the hills and mountain areas of the Cairngorms National Park, you will encounter plenty of varied wild life, from reindeer around the Northern Cairngorms and Glenlivet to the ptarmigan and dotterel that breed on the open plateau. Ground nesting birds are particularly prone to disturbance and if scared off the nest, leave eggs and chicks vulnerable to predators and harsh weather. You can help by the following simple actions:

•    Keeping your dog under close control or on a short lead during the bird breeding season, usually April to July

•    Keep an eye out for deer, reindeer or other livestock and don’t let your dog chase them

4. In woodland

The pine woodlands of Strathspey and Deeside are strongholds for the capercaillie, one of the most iconic birds in the Cairngorms National Park – and also one of the most threatened and prone to recreational disturbance. In woodlands from April to August, you should ensure that your dog remains in-sight, on the path and close to heel. In some place you may see signs asking you to keep your dog on a lead.


5. Around communities

Most communities in the Park are served by path networks, well-used by residents and their dogs and details of local walks can be found here (link to community path leaflets page). The key things to remember in these places are as follows:
•    Pick up your dog’s poo if it defecates in a public open place
•    In recreation and other public places, avoid causing concern to others by keeping your dog under close control
•    Don’t let your dog run onto sports pitches, playing fields or play areas when they are in use

6. Clean up after your dog

The bottom line is that you need to dispose of your dogs’ poo responsibly. Most of the time, especially around communities and where children might be playing, you should pick it up and take it away. Use dog poo bins if there are ones – and remember you can dispose of dog poo in the Council green bins too.
In more remote areas, it may be fine to use the ‘stick and flick’ technique to get poo off the path where nature’s waste disposers can deal with it. But please respect the wishes of land managers who will often erect signs with specific requests of what to do with dog poo – so never leave home without a poo bag.

7. Pet Services Directory

Here you can find links to kennels, pet shops and vets. You can also search the accommodation pages for dog friendly places to stay.

A list of vets in the Cairngorms National Park.
A list of kennels/catteries in the Cairngorms National Park.
A list of pet shops in the Cairngorms National Park