Nation’s dog owners set to spend £162m on pets

Britain’s dog owners are set to spend £162 million on their canine companions this Christmas as a thank you for their support this year.

According to research by Guide Dogs, almost three-quarters of dog owners will be treating their animals during the festive season – spending an average of £21.92 per pet.

With an estimated 10.1 million dogs in the UK, that means 7.37 million will receive presents such as treats (72%), soft toys (63%) and bones and chews (47%).

The survey of 2,000 dog owners revealed that other popular gifts include a ball (31%) and a new collar (19%).

The charity has seen demand for its dog treats and toys skyrocket, with online sales up 50% on last year, with ‘Pigs in Blankets Dog Treats’ and ‘Dog Pet Treat Stocking’ appearing in the top 20 best sellers online.

Guide Dogs is attributing pet owners’ generosity to a thank you for the love and support they have received from the animals during the pandemic – with 75% of respondents saying their dogs helped them more than they could have imagined in 2020.

Dog owners in London will be spending the most (£34.33), followed by those in the North West (£23.14), North East (£22.94) and West Midlands (£22.87).

It also emerged that 87% of owners are excited about their dog’s Christmas, with 22% saying it would be their first with them. This follows the huge rise in demand for dogs as people spend more time at home.

Dr Helen Whiteside, head of research at Guide Dogs, said: “2020 has been a difficult year but it has also been a reminder of why we regard dog as man’s best friend. The research shows we like to treat our dogs like a member of the family and many lucky animals will be spoilt rotten by their adoring owners this year.

“Whilst we love festive food and gifts, it’s important to make sure to check everything is safe for our pets and we recommend owners give them ‘dog safe’ treats and presents. Many dogs will be having their first Christmas with their owners and it’s an exciting time as millions prepare to treat their beloved pets as a thank you for being there this year.”

The study also found that 15% of dog owners even plan to spend more on their pooch than their parents, while 13% said the dogs will have more spent on them than the children. More than one in 10 will even spend more on their dog than their partner.

The survey carried our via OnePoll also found that 16% admitted that they would rather spend Christmas with their dogs than with their family. Another 59% are planning on taking their dog for a special Christmas Day walk.

Dr Helen Whiteside added: “Christmas is a special time of the year and while it won’t be normal, millions will have their pets by their side ensuring they have a wonderful day. There is a bond between humans and their dog – and this is something experienced in a particularly special way by guide dog owners whose companions have provided priceless companionship and assistance over the past 12 months.

“Every hour, someone in the UK starts to lose their sight and Guide Dogs shop helps to raise money for Guide Dog services.”

For more information on Guide Dogs you can visit

More than 4,600 animals reported dumped to RSPCA last winter

The RSPCA received more than 4,600 reports of abandoned animals last winter and is worried a surge in pet ownership could lead to more this year.

Last winter, the charity received 4,650 reports of abandoned animals, including 128 horses, 193 rabbits and 1,401 cats. Dogs were the most abandoned pet with a whopping 2,425 abandonment reports during the winter months.

Already in November they received 985 reports of dumped and unwanted animals and with reports of increased pet ownership, coupled with a deepening recession, the RSPCA says could lead to more pets being left out in the cold this year. 

Dermot Murphey, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During the lockdown there have been reports of a rise in people buying or adopting new pets, often for the very first time. Whilst it’s great that so many people have become pet owners and have found their pet to be a real source of comfort during these challenging times, we are concerned that some people may have bought a pet on impulse without considering how their lifestyle might change once the pandemic ends. On top of that, we are facing real economic uncertainties, and as in previous recessions, people may simply find themselves unable to afford their pet.

“The last thing we want to see is animals dumped and left out in the cold so we’d urge anyone who is struggling to care for their pets to please reach out to friends, family and charities for support instead.”

Animals just like Gabe (pictured) who was abandoned and left tied up near RSPCA Harmsworth Animal Hospital in London.  The member of the public who spotted him said they had not seen anyone leave the dog, but they think he had been left there for at least half an hour before he was spotted last month.

Gabe was not microchipped and was wearing a red harness with a chain lead. He is a small spitz breed cross and had some matting of fur on his rear end and he also had sore skin. He is now being fostered by a RSPCA staff member and getting the care and attention he needs.

RSPCA poll

A poll by the RSPCA, conducted by YouGov revealed that 11% of pet owners had taken on a pet during lockdown and, of those, nearly 9% said that their pet had been more expensive than they had expected. Just over one in 20 were worried about being able to afford them in the future.

A third of GB adults who own a pet said they were worried that pets bought during lockdown will be abandoned if people returned to work and 31% said they were concerned that pets will be dumped this Christmas if people were struggling.

Dermot added: “We would always urge anyone considering getting a pet to thoroughly do their research to make sure they can give them the time, money and care they need for the rest of their lives. As the impact of the pandemic puts a strain on people’s finances and as many people start to return to work or some kind of normality, the fear is that we will see a surge in abandoned and neglected animals coming into our care.”

This winter, the RSPCA expects to rescue thousands of animals from neglect, cruelty and suffering. To help our rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need us, visit and Join the Christmas Rescue #JoinTheRescue




Don’t be tempted by DIY pet treatments, warn Blue Cross

Blue Cross warns against DIY treatments after shaved cat infested with fleas was brought into their care.

Pet charity, Blue Cross is urging owners to contact their vet if their pet needs treatment after a cat came into their care having been shaved in a desperate bid by an owner to get rid of an infestation of fleas.

Seven-month-old ginger tom Ronnie was taken into Blue Cross in Torbay, Devon for rehoming as the owners could no longer keep him.

The rehoming centre said 90% of the cats that had been brought into them this year had flea infestations as owners had not sought vet advice or used the wrong treatments.

Owners often think the colder weather means fewer fleas, but in fact flea eggs brought in on pets from outside can live dormant in our homes for up to a year and wake up once the central heating is turned on.

Research by Blue Cross found just 34% of pet owners contacted their vet for flea treatments, with 55% buying form supermarkets and online. Meanwhile 40% admitted to not treating their pets for fleas regularly.

Claire Stallard Behaviour and Training Manager at Blue Cross said: “Most cats will find being shaved or clipped very stressful. We’d always urge owners to seek professional advice before attempting to trim their pet and would certainly never advise it as a way to combat or control fleas.”

Blue Cross is a national pet charity which offers low-cost vet treatment to owners who are in receipt of certain means-tested benefits and live in the catchment area of one of their animal hospitals or pet care clinics.

The charity also works with PawSquad which offers online vet consultations 24 hours a week 7 days a week.

Alison Thomas, Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross, said: “Shaving a cat to get rid of fleas is very unlikely to be successful and there is a risk of causing trauma and even cuts to the skin when attempting this in the home setting.

“The best way to manage a flea problem is to treat all cats and dogs in the household with a suitable product on a regular basis, combined with treatment of the home environment (usually with a spray designed to be used in the house). It is worth noting that flea collars are usually unsuccessful in getting rid of fleas and a small number of cats may develop a skin reaction to them.

“Where over-the-counter treatments are used, ensure you are buying an appropriate product for your pet – some dog treatments are unsuitable for cats and many treatments are designed for a particular size or weight range. Management of fleas becomes particularly important in young puppies and kittens as heavy infestations can result in severe illness and even death.”

Ronnie has since been rehomed by Blue Cross Torbay centre manager Laura Boyle and lives with her and her daughter and their dog Penny.











How to puppy-proof your Christmas tree

With a real boom in puppy sales during the Coronavirus pandemic, many new pet parents are asking how to puppy-proof your tree.

As hundreds of families across the country prepare to face their first Christmas with a furry friend by their side, Josh Lyle from Pines and Needles shares his top tips to keep your Christmas tree – and your pooch – safe during the festivities.

1 Height – If you have a very young puppy or a very excited one, maybe consider getting a smaller tree and placing it on a side table instead of on the ground so that your pup can’t reach it. If you can’t bear to part with your bigger-ceiling topping tree, try and secure the tree to the wall using hooks that don’t leave wall marks so that no matter how much tugging puppy does, the tree will stand tall.

2 Location – It’s really important to think about where you’re placing your Christmas tree. Of course, you want it to be the pride of place, where you can enjoy it all festive season, but you also want it in a low traffic area to keep the tree and your decorations that little bit safer from inquisitive pooches.

3 Go bare at first – Before you decorate your Christmas tree, leave it up for a few days so that your pooch can get used to having a tree in the house. That way they’ll be less interested in it and more likely to leave it alone once it’s decorated and has lights and baubles hanging off it.

4 Electrical wires – You need to be super careful with any electrical wires leading form your tree to a plug socket, not only could your pup get tangled in them, but there’s also a risk of an electrical shock if they’re a chewer. Try hiding any wires or having them higher up if possible.

5 Ornaments – It goes without saying, any fragile ornaments or particularly sentimental ones, should go higher up on the tree so your dog doesn’t go for them. Not only will you lose your gorgeous decorations, but it could be a choking hazard or cause paw or mouth injuries.

For more information about trees on offer, please visit

RSPCA encourages supporters to give through Payroll Giving

The RSPCA is encouraging its supporters to help animals in need through Payroll Giving this Giving Tuesday (December 1st).

Giving Tuesday is the time of the year when we are encouraged to think about what we can give back to charities.

This year, the RSPCA is bracing itself for its toughest Christmas yet as the charity fears that the financial impact of the Coronavirus crisis could mean more animals are being abandoned or neglected and coming into the charity’s care.

This year, the charity is asking animal lovers to consider setting up Payroll Giving as a unique and tax-efficient way to help animals. Payroll Giving is a simple way to make regular donations to a charity straight from your gross salary. This means that you can help animals in need every time you’re paid.

Julie Brown, the RSPCA’s Payroll Giving Manager, said: “Giving Tuesday comes after Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two major Christmas shopping days in the festive calendar. This international day encourages people to donate or volunteer for a cause close to their hearts in order to give something back.

“So far this year, Payroll Giving has raised more than £500,000 to help the RSPCA continue to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals in desperate need of care. We’re asking employees, employers and fellow animal lovers to consider donating to the RSPCA through Payroll Giving to help us continue to rescue those animals who need us the most this Christmas and beyond.”

What is Payroll Giving?

  • Making a donation through Payroll Giving means it comes straight out of your gross salary (pre-tax)
  • It can be set up by completing a simple form online
  • You can donate as much or as little as you’d like and can stop your donation at any time
  • It’s tax free, so every £1 you give will only cost you around 80p
  • You don’t need to sign up to direct debit or give out your bank details – your employer will deduct the donation from your salary directly.

Julie added: “In the past eight years, Payroll Giving has raised a whopping £7 million which means that hundreds of thousands of animals have benefitted from this simple and easy way to give.”

For more information on Payroll Giving you can visit


New scheme to help people and their pets off the streets

A new national pet friendly hostel accreditation scheme has been launched, with the first hostel being awarded accreditation today in Hemel Hempstead.

The StreetVet Accredited Hostel Scheme – which will roll out nationwide – will enable hostels to accept multiple residents with their pets by offering free, accessible, veterinary care, as well as support for hostel managers and staff to adopt and implement positive pet policies.

Currently many people face the impossible choice between a roof over their heads of giving up on their beloved pet.

In the UK, one in ten people experiencing homelessness has a pet (around 32,000 people) and, whilst some hostels accept pets, the vast majority do not. Those that do accept pets may also only accept one pet for the entire property.

The accreditation scheme ensures that hostels are well-equipped to proactively support pet-owning residents, including: having a variety of health, hygiene and safety policies in place; e-training hostel team members to support the policies and the people and pets they are accommodating, and providing pet owners with access to vet care including telemedicine, free provision of pet essentials, transport to vet practices when needed and emergency kennelling should the pet owner be taken ill.

The charity was able to launch the scheme after winning funding from Purina’s BetterwithPets prize – the accreditation scheme was chosen as the winner from entries across Europe.

StreetVet co-founder and vet Jade Statt says: “Under current regulations, if people turn down housing due to “no pets” clauses, they are told they are making themselves “intentionally homeless” and are refused further housing assistance. Any pet lover will understand that choosing between a roof over your head and the company of your beloved pet is no choice at all. Currently, one of the many complex reasons that people remain homeless is because there are not enough hostels that can safely accommodate them and their pet. Our hope is that in setting up the StreetVet Accredited Hostel Scheme, fewer people will have to make this impossible choice. Access to pet-friendly hostels is their first step towards independent housing. With homelessness on the rise due to the economic impact of COVID-19, it was important to us to launch this scheme before Christmas, as winter sets in.”

Co-founder Sam Joseph added: “We hope this scheme will enable hostels that have previously not been pet friendly to start welcoming pet-owning residents.”

StreetVet has seen a huge increase in people seeking their services during 2020, with a 50% increase in clients in Bournemouth during lockdown alone.

StreetVet ambassador, the presenter, writer, broadcaster and animal-lover Clare Balding says: “This is a simple idea that will make an absolutely huge difference to pet owners experiencing homelessness and is a brilliant extension of StreetVet’s excellent work treating pets on the streets. The charity has made it as simple and low cost as possible for hostels to become accredited, helping keep people and their pets together. Pets are more than animals, they are our family and friends. No pet lover would want to be separated from their pet, especially when going through a very difficult time in their life.”

The pet charity Blue Cross supported StreetVet in generating educational content for the scheme. Tracy Genever, Head of Education Services, Blue Cross, says: “A common barrier to hostels becoming pet friendly is that their staff are not confident supporting pet-owning residents. This scheme tackles that problem at its root by providing hostel staff training as well as wrap-around veterinary support.”

Sean Fitzgerald, manager of The Elms, the first StreetVet pet-friendly accredited hostel says: “We wanted to be part of this scheme because we see the benefits pets bring their owners every day with our residents. The accreditation process is thorough but it’s also simple, with all the support you need provided by StreetVet. The scheme helped us improve our pet policies and we know StreetVet will be there whenever we need them in an emergency. We would encourage as many hostels as possible to get involved.”

It is StreetVet’s hope that local community groups, schools and even individuals will fundraise for local hostels to join the scheme by helping to cover the annual accreditation fee. Hostels interested in learning about the scheme are invited to contact StreetVet (

Bernard Meunier, Purina EMENA chief executive said: “We created the BetterwithPets Prize to support the innovators who harness the power of the pet-human bond in communities across Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

“In this second edition, we awarded StreetVet £40,000 with a strong belief in Jade and the hope that our financial help and business expertise could accelerate her plans to create the first ever pet friendly hostel accreditation scheme. This great achievement demonstrates how a programme built on deep love for pets and their owners, and belief in the power of the pet-human bond, can deliver positive change for both individuals and communities.”

Whilst the hostel accreditation scheme will make a huge difference to people and their pets, it’s only the first step to helping pet owners experiencing homelessness access accommodation.

StreetVet co-founder Sam Joseph explains: “Once people have been temporarily housed with pets, they still face hurdles to access permanent accommodation, due to many landlords banning pets. For this reason, StreetVet is also supporting Jasmine’s Law and has shared our policies and procedures in the hope they can also be applied to permanent rented accommodation. Our charity’s purpose is to protect the human-animal bond and keep our clients and their pets together.”

Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, who introduced the Jasmine’s Law legislation to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill explains: “Responsible pet owners are forced to give up beloved pets if they need to move and are unable to find an affordable place to rent where their pet is also allowed, while homeless pet owners are faced with the choice of giving up their pet or staying on the streets. “No pets” policies can have a terrible impact on individuals and families. More often than not, these policies are completely unnecessary.”

To find out more information about StreetVet and the hostel scheme, visit


StreetVet co-founders Jade Statt and Sam Joseph with Lucky the Staffie

Lily’s kitchen sprints ahead of the pack with record sales run

The UK’s original premium natural pet food brand, Lily’s Kitchen has been confirmed as the UK’s fastest growing pet food brand with an annual sales increase of 34% according to Kantar.

Dashing ahead of the competition, Lily’s Kitchen has increased sales by 27% in the grocery channel alone – leaps and bounds ahead of the equivalent 2% sales growth in the pet food category.

Growth has been aided by the successful launch of new dog food varieties including Moroccan-inspired Lamb Tagine and Limited Edition Halloween themed Beef Ghoooulash which have seen record demand for new product launches and proves the strong appetite from loyal and new customers.

The brand’s belief helping customers treat their pets as a key part of the family has never been more successful, with supplies of its Advent Calendar For Dogs selling out by the second week in November.

With more product on shelves than ever before, Lily’s Kitchen, which is the first certified B-Corp brand in the petfood sector has grown it’s overall distribution by 11% to over 3,800 stores, including an 18% growth in listings in the UK grocery sector in the year ending 3rd October 2020.

Having grown through positive word of mouth and recommendation since inception in 2009, the business is also reaping the rewards of its loyal customer following, successfully launching online subscription services which have seen its direct-to-consumer sales surge in 2020.

Continued international expansion and the signing of landmark distribution deals mean that the much-loved brand is available in over 3,000 stores in 30 countries outside of the UK through a range of vets, specialist retailers, major online market-places and big name supermarkets – up from just ten countries in 2018.

Lily’s Kitchen CEO, David Milner said: Our tried and trusted formula of creating natural, healthy, proper pet food inspired by the latest food trends is appealing to more pet parents than ever before. To be the fastest growing brand in a growing category is a testament to the quality of our product – as proven by the record-setting success of our latest new product launches.

“The increase in pet ownership is well documented, but a major factor for us is our popularity amongst younger, more millennial-minded new pet parents, who want to treat their pets just as they would their children and for whom the health and wellbeing of their pets is a spending priority.

“The growth of direct sales has also been beyond expectation and the launch of subscriptions in the summer is proof of the brand loyalty we have built and our international success shows the simple fact that pet owners across the world are willing to pay a premium for healthy, proper pet food.”

For information on the core Lily’s Kitchen range and other products please visit


Abandoned blind puppy finds a home in time for his first Christmas

Animal welfare charity, Battersea has helped to find a new home for a blind puppy in time for Christmas, after being found wandering helpless and alone in Hyde Park.

When he arrived at the Battersea rehoming centre expert veterinary staff realised the three-month old Rottweiler was completely blind – which may be why he had been abandoned in the park.

Thankfully, despite having a rough start in his short life he has now found himself a happy home in south-east London with new owner Suanne and will now spend his first Christmas surrounded by a loving family.

Steve Craddock, Centre Manager at Battersea said: “We’ll never know the real reason why young Oliver was abandoned, but it may have been because blind would make it harder for a breeder to sell him to new owners.

“Dogs are amazing animals, and blind dogs are often very misunderstood. Although they may not be able to see, they can enjoy the world in different ways and will use their sense of smell to explore the world around them. Blind dogs are also very quick to map new environments and so can easily adjust to a home setting.

“Wed always urge anyone with a puppy that they can no longer look after to bring them into a rescue centre like Battersea. This way, they’ll be safe and will have the best chance of finding the perfect home, or just like Oliver has done with Suzanne. There’s never any excuse for abandoning a helpless animal – rescues are here to help.”

Despite being blind, the young dog has learnt to map out his new home and is finding his way around– he even brings his new owner Suzanne his food bowl whenever he starts to feel a bit peckish, earning him the new name Oliver Twist.

Suzanne says: “Although Oliver is blind, he’s such a confident boy! He’s now fully settled, and with the help of his new big sister, Izzy, it took him no time at all to happily find his way around his new home.

“He’s really bonded with Izzy, and the two now spend all of their time together; they love to go on country walks together and then have a snuggle in the evening. They’re the best of friends!

“He’s such a big character and he really goes to show that while rescue dogs aren’t always perfect, they are definitely worth it.”

Battersea needs support from the public to continue to be here for vulnerable animals like Oliver. To make a donation please visit



5 festive ways to celebrate your pet’s first Christmas

Christmas is a time for celebrating and, if you’ve got a new pet in the last year, you’ll no doubt want to introduce them to all of the fun, too.

Here, Kirsty Prankerd, Managing Director of Write From The Heart, discusses some of the best ways you can ensure the festive season is enjoyable for your furry friend.

The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner! With the pandemic ruining so many plans this year, you’re sure to be excited for the holiday season to begin — especially if you’ve recently added a new furry friend to the family. You’ll want to make this a Christmas to remember for everyone, including your pet.

Here, I’ll be sharing some of the top ways you can mark your pet’s first Christmas as part of your family and how to keep them calm throughout this exciting season.

Treat them to some festive snacks
We all love to indulge over Christmas, especially when we’ve been so good all year long. So, before you bring out the cheeseboard and the chocolates, it’s worth thinking about treating your new pet to something, too. There are plenty of festive pet-friendly goodies for them to snack on, so keep your eye out for Christmassy flavoured and shaped treats to get them involved with the magic.

Although it’s perfectly fine to give them a treat every now and again, do take care not to feed them too much over the festive season. Your new pet will likely only have a small tummy, and you don’t want to risk them getting sick during the Christmas period. A treat or two every so often will be more than enough for them.

Hire a pet photographer
Great memories will last a lifetime, but it’s always nice to take photos of important events so you can look back on them. So, why not hire a pet photographer? These specialists will be able to take fun festive photos of you and your pet together, which will make for some amazing keepsakes.

If you get the photos taken early enough, you could even use them on your Christmas cards to send to your nearest and dearest. This is the perfect opportunity for you to all get dressed up in Christmas-themed outfits and have some fun with your new pet. You could even make this a yearly tradition and add the photos to a scrapbook as a beautiful keepsake.

Buy them some festive jumpers
Christmas jumpers are one of the best parts of the festive season, with so many bright colours and merry designs to choose from. Now you have another addition to the family, you might want to consider getting matching ones with your new pet. There are plenty of options out there for pets of all sizes, and you could even look at getting them personalised with the year or to highlight it was from your pet’s first Christmas with you.

They’ll likely grow out of these by next year, but they can always be kept as reminders of your pets first Christmas that all the family will love looking back on.

Create some keepsakes
Sentimental gifts and decorations are the icing on the cake at Christmas. Despite gifting being a big part of Christmas for so many, the festive season is mainly loved for being a time when your nearest and dearest can gather. But it’s always nice to remember the day.

So, why not look at having some keepsakes made to commemorate your pet’s first Christmas with you? This could include the likes of cushions, treat tins, or photo frames — anything you think will fit in nicely with your home and also be a cute nod to the festive season with your furry friend.

Keep their stress levels low
Christmas is an extremely busy time of year, with guests coming and going, presents being wrapped and exchanged, and tree decorations and lights being put up. Not to mention the festive soundtracks that’ll be blaring through your home on repeat until the 25th of December. But, when you have a new pet, you’ll need to take great care to keep their stress levels as low as possible during this time.

When you’ve got a young pet, too much sensory information can become overwhelming and cause them to feel scared or stressed. As a result, you might find your four-legged friend panting, hiding, or whimpering, which will be upsetting for all of you. To manage this, consider introducing them to something new every few days rather than all at once. For example, put the tree up one day, and then lay out the rest of the decorations another day. It may take some time for them to become comfortable with everything but, if you begin introducing them to things early, they will soon become accustomed to them. If you do notice something repeatedly upsetting your pet, though, it would be better to remove it. After all, it’s their Christmas, too!

Christmas with your new pet is bound to be a magical experience, so be sure to celebrate it in the right way. From making sure they’re comfortable, to treating them and getting them involved with your family traditions, you’re sure to all have a Christmas to remember.

Top 10 places around London to walk your dog during lockdown

Over the past week searches for ‘dog walks’ and ‘dog friendly’ have peaked in interest, as dog owners attempt to find new and exciting places to walk their dog.

From long stretches of sand to big open green spaces, there are lots of dog-friendly locations in London that are sure to excite both you and your pooch.

Experts from have put together a list of the top 10 most dog-friendly places around London; from walks with spectacular views to hidden gems that will make those all too familiar walks in your local area that little bit more exciting.

Before you head off on your tail-wagging adventure with your dog, please make sure to check the government guidelines on how far you can travel.

Weavers Fields

WeaversField Image courtesy of Instagram @summermughrabi

Weavers Fields lies in the heart of Bethnal Green, it features an area just for dog-walkers, which means you can let your pup off that lead and stretch their legs to fully embrace that game of fetch. Renowned for their award-winning animal wardens who keep the park in good condition – they are friendly to dogs and owners alike, so don’t be afraid to strike up a socially distant conversation while you enjoy your walk.

Alexandra Palace and Park

We recommend starting your walk with a lap around the Victorian Palace, before making your way through a mixture of woodland and open grassland. Take an autumnal stroll around the parks boating lake and ornamental gardens, before heading to the top of the hill, where you can find breath taking panoramic views of the London skyline.

Hampstead Heath

If you are looking for a beautiful view of London’s skyline, then that’s what you’ll get when you visit Hampstead Heath. Walk to the summit of 100-metre high Parliament Hill or wonder round 320 hectares of wildlife-filled parkland with your fluffy companion. The park is home to beautiful woodlands, vast heaths and even swimming ponds dedicated to dogs that love a paddle. While you explore everything Hampstead Heath has to offer, why not also delve into the ancient history of one of London’s biggest parks.

Epping Forest

As one of London’s largest open spaces, Epping forest is the perfect place for you and your pet to explore. The impressive forest spans an incredible 2,400 hectares and and at least 50,000 trees making it the perfect place if your dog loves to run around. If you are looking for a bit of history, we suggest you try and find the old Hunting Lodge that was commissioned by Henry VIII and has stood in the forest since 1542.

Greenwich Park

Home to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich Park is one of the most famous green spaces in London. With history dating back to the Roman Times, the site is made up of vast green spaces, beautiful gardens and dramatic skylines. Marvel at the views across the River Thames as you walk your dog, or try and spot red deer as you explore the park. There is so much history in every corner and the perfect place for you and your pooch.

Greenwich Park Image from Instagram – @marianacarvalhocp

Chiswick House and Gardens 

Located in west London, Chiswick House and Gardens is a beautiful 18th century space that has been the inspiration for some of the most famous parks in the world. The gorgeous property has large green spaces, cascading waterfalls, and woodland areas that make up its 26 hectares. Although there are some places where your pooch must be kept on a lead there is plenty of space for them to run around and enjoy a splash in the lake.

Morden Hall Park 

Once a gorgeous countryside estate, Morden Hall Park is now a National Trust property that spans 50 hectares of greenland to explore with your puppy. See if you can spot the restored waterwheel, or explore Modern Hall’s very own private gardens. There are plenty of trails and the meandering River Wandle to explore when you visit Morden Hall park.

Richmond Park

If you are looking for a big open space, Richmond Park is perfect for you and your pooch. As one of the biggest parks in London, Richmond Park is a 16 hectare woodland garden that is home to the Isabella Plantation. The famous park is set in a beautiful Victorian Plantation, that dates back to the 1830s. Make sure to keep your dog on a lead while exploring the park, as there is precious wildlife hidden in every corner.

Trent Country Park 

Live on the outskirts of London? Don’t worry, Trent Country park is the perfect place to explore with your dog. With swaying meadows, lakes and ancient woodland including Enfield Chase – a former hunting ground of monarchs such as Henry the VII – there is so much much history to learn. Stroll through the meadows as your dog runs around or learn about how the park got its name, the Picadilly Lane park won’t’ disappoint you.

Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park was one of the first parks to be laid out in London during the Victorian era. If you are looking for a long walk for you and your pup, try the 4.5 Parkland Walk. The old railway line that runs through the park has been transformed into a leafy footpath, perfect for letting your dog explore on or off lead. There is also a path that goes towards Alexandra Palace, where the railway line once ended.

Finsbury Park – image from Instagram – @muddypawsclub