A HAWICK vet is urging dog owners to ensure their pets are kept on leads when out for walks in the countryside as lambing season hits full swing.

And he recommends not taking dogs into fields containing lambs and sheep even when they are on a lead.

The season started in early spring and is now at peak momentum, meaning fields are beginning to fill up with thousands of new-born lambs.

It is one of the busiest times of the year for Hawick Veterinary Practice, in Earl Street, which works with farm clients from across the region, some of which have thousands of ewes in their flock.

Unfortunately, the season comes with the associated risk to the animals’ welfare, with cases of sheep miscarrying after being frightened by dogs, or being attacked, maimed or killed.

Andrew Robinson, clinical director at Hawick Veterinary Practice, is urging dog owners not to enter fields with ewes and lambs even if they are on leads.

He said: “Ideally, we would recommend not walking your pet in fields with sheep in them, as even the most docile and well-behaved dogs can become excitable around livestock.

“If a dog gets loose, it may not respond to calls to come back to its owner, increasing the likelihood of it worrying or attacking sheep, so please avoid during lambing season. It’s also about looking out for your pet’s welfare, too.”

Guidance is available to farmers who may be having issues during lambing season, such as unexplained mortality among their flock.

Anyone needing advice should contact Hawick Veterinary Practice by calling 01450 372038 or by visiting www.hawickvets.co.uk.