Autumn walks with dogs Autumn walks with dogs

A Guide to Walking Dogs in Autumn

Read time: 7 mins

27 Sep 2023

Autumn, with its crisp air and colourful landscapes, is a delightful season for dogs and owners alike. In this guide, we'll explore why dogs love autumn, how to prepare for autumn walks, and the potential dangers your four-legged companion might encounter during these months.

We’ve also asked our squad members to give us some recommendations of their favourite autumnal walking locations, so be sure to check these out.

Why Do Dogs Love Autumn?

Dogs seem to have a special affinity for autumn. But, what is it about this season that makes it so favourable in the eyes of pooches?

Mild temperatures

Autumn brings relief from the scorching summer heat and the biting cold of winter. The cooler weather is ideal for energetic play. Dogs can run and jump without overheating, making it a prime season for adventure.

Sensory overload

The autumn season awakens a dog's senses. The rustling leaves, the earthy scents, and the crunchy ground beneath their paws create a sensory playground for your furry friend.

Active wildlife

Autumn is a time of increased wildlife activity, which can be captivating for dogs. Squirrels, birds, and other critters provide plenty of opportunities for dogs to engage their hunting instincts.

Do Dogs Feel the Change of Seasons?

Yes, dogs are sensitive to changes in weather and daylight hours.

Whilst they may not understand the concept of seasons, they certainly notice the differences in their environment. The cooler air, changing scents, and variations in daylight all contribute to their awareness of seasonal shifts.

How to Prepare for Autumn Walks with Your Dog

To ensure your dog's safety and enjoyment during autumnal walks, here are some essential preparations to consider:

1. Plan earlier walks

As daylight hours become shorter in autumn, consider adjusting your walking schedule to ensure you have enough daylight for a safe outing. Early morning or late afternoon walks can be perfect for both you and your dog.

2. Use reflective walking gear

With shorter days, visibility can be reduced. Invest in reflective gear for both you and your dog, such as leads, collars, and jackets. This added visibility reduces the risk of accidents during evening walks, with the added bonus of helping to locate your pooch when they go digging for their ball in the bushes.

3. Layer up

Just as you might wear layers to stay warm, consider adding a sweater or jacket to your dog's wardrobe, especially if they have short fur. This helps them stay cosy during colder autumn days.

4. Make sure their microchip and ID tags are correct

If you’ve recently moved house or changed phone numbers, you may have forgotten to update your dog’s microchip information and ID tags, make sure they contain your current address and contact information.

5. Keep the shampoo supply stocked up

Muddy paws and rainy walks are common in autumn. Having a good supply of dog-friendly shampoo on hand will help keep your furry friend clean and comfortable after outdoor adventures.

6. Have their Butternut Box meal ready to eat

Before heading out, it might be a good idea to take your dog's meal out of the fridge so that it can warm to room temperature, ready for them to eat when you return from your walk. Fresh dog food, like Butternut Box, is the best way to keep them healthy and satisfied during the autumn months. 

Autumn Dangers for Dogs

While autumn walks can be a delight, there are some potential hazards to be aware of:

Acorns and conkers

These seasonal nuts may seem harmless, but they can be toxic when ingested by dogs. Their spiky shells can also cause internal damage.  Keep an eye out for them during your walks and discourage your pup from chewing on them.

Wild mushrooms

Autumn is the peak season for wild mushrooms, and some varieties can be poisonous to dogs. Keep your dog away from mushrooms they might encounter during your walk.

Fallen fruits

Fruits like apples and pears are abundant in autumn, but their seeds can be harmful to dogs. Make sure your pup doesn't snack on fallen fruits during your walks.

Fallen leaves

While they make for great rustling fun, leaves can hide dangers like sharp objects, insects, or even small creatures. They may also be mouldy, meaning they can cause tummy upset if ingested. Keep an eye on your dog as they explore leaf piles.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested something that could potentially be poisonous, do not hesitate to contact your vet. Butternut Box customers can also get in touch with our Vet Nurse Helpline for help and advice.

Seasonal canine illness

Some dogs can be more prone to illnesses in the autumn months. Woodland areas are often the most prevalent areas for picking up these nasty bugs. Be mindful of symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny poops or lethargy and consult your vet if needed.

Fleas and ticks

Even in cooler weather, fleas and ticks can still pose a threat. Continue with your regular flea and tick prevention measures to keep your dog safe.


As autumn progresses, fireworks displays become more common, particularly around holidays like Halloween and Bonfire Night. Many dogs are scared of fireworks, so be prepared to comfort your furry friend or seek professional help if necessary.

If you hear fireworks whilst out on a walk, we recommend keeping them on their lead in case they run away due to fear of the loud noises.

Autumn Walks Recommended By Our Squad

Tried, tested and pooch-approved, the following walking locations across UK and Ireland are sure to provide you with all of the festive feels this autumn.

Swithland Wood, Leicestershire

Swithland Wood is an ancient woodland covering 170 acres and plays an important role as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. What’s better, the woods is linked to Bradgate Park which is great for dog walkers who want to see the deer whilst out on a walk, but also need a deer-free, wooded area where dogs can roam freely and blow off steam.

Sheffield Park, Sussex

Sheffield Park is a Grade 1 listed garden with plenty of paths, lakes, fields, and woodlands for endless pup-quests and adventures. The park's trees, adorned in hues of red, orange, and gold, create a vibrant tapestry overhead, casting dappled sunlight on the ground below. 

Alnmouth Beach, Northumberland

There’s nothing quite like the bracing wind as you walk along the beach in the depths of Autumn. This tranquil spot is perfect for letting your dog burn off some energy. Fellow dog-walking locals are always keen to stop for a chat and discuss the wonders of the ever-changing North East weather.

Glenariff Forest Park, County Antrim

At Glenariff Forest Park, you will find a 3km boardwalk trail which winds through the nature reserve adorned in natural waterfalls. This was built around 100 years ago and has been lovingly restored to allow more pet parents and their beloved pups to explore for years to come. 

Pen Y Fan, Brecon Beacons

The earthy scent of moss and fallen leaves, along with the breathtaking vistas of the Beacons, create an immersive sensory experience that captures the essence of autumn in all its glory.

Hampstead Heath, London

Hampstead Heath's vast open spaces offer a serene escape from the urban hustle and bustle, you may even find yourself questioning if you’re still actually in London. 

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

This incredibly scenic walk has lots to offer, including a dog friendly pub nearby. There’s a few things you should be aware of when walking your dogs at Ashridge Estate, such as livestock, horses and wild deer. If your dog’s recall leaves something to be desired, we would recommend keeping them on a lead. 

Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

A Forestry England Site, The Downs and Silk Wood parts of Westonbirt Arboretum are dog friendly, giving your pup plenty of opportunity to do some exploring off-lead. The Old Arboretum part is a dog-free zone and so must be avoided.