Dogs in our nature reserves

Why is your dog not always allowed to come along?

We are often asked why dogs are not always permitted to accompany you when visiting our nature reserves. Of course, we understand that it is nice to walk your dog in nature, but there is not always room for this in the vulnerable nature reserves we manage. Below is an explanation of why dogs, even if on leash, are not welcome in all our areas.

Fortunately, dogs - on leash - are allowed in many areas, such as in ‘t Zwin, the Verdronken Zwarte Polder, on the Wallen van Aardenburg and Retranchement, Wallen van Sluis, the woods of Clinge, Willem Leopold polder, and on Neeltje Jans. Clinge has an area where dogs are allowed off leash, everywhere else dogs on leash are welcome.

Dogs cause unrest in nature, even when they are on leash

Lots of different animals live in nature. They feel at home there but are vulnerable. Dogs can cause a lot of unrest, even when they are on leash. Almost all wild animals, as well as grazing cattle, in our reserves are afraid of dogs. Off leash dogs like to explore and while doing so can, for example, disturb breeding birds. Some dogs enjoy chasing hare, deer, and rabbits and even injure or kill them. Fleeing wild game can lead to dangerous situations, the animals go into a blind panic with all the consequences that can entail. In this video you can see how wrong it can go: Dog attacks deer.

Livestock safety in nature reserves

There are cattle, sheep, and horses in many of our areas. They help us manage the nature by keeping the grass short and ensure a varied vegetation. Although cattle can get used to the presence of dogs, it is very difficult for us. We work with seasonal grazing, often with young cattle. The animals can become restless due to the presence of dogs, which can lead to unsafe situations. In this video you can see how a herd of cattle is scared and flees from a small dog running loose: no matter how small the dog…

Dog faeces and cattle disease

Your dog can pass on diseases to cattle in our nature reserve unnoticed, even if your dog is healthy. If dog faeces get into the grass (cattle feed), it is contaminated. In addition, dog faeces can cause fertility problems and abortion in cows if your dog has been in contact with the Neospora Caninum parasite (e.g. due to contaminated food). A dog who has been in contact with this parasite can be a carrier, even without being ill! The dog faeces can then contain the dangerous parasite, causing the cattle to get sick.

Other tourists and visitors

Many people do not mind dogs running off leash, but there is a large group of people who do mind. They may be afraid if a dog jumps up enthusiastically or runs after a cyclist while barking loudly. Nobody likes to step in dog faeces, and dog faeces in nature reserves are a source of disease (worms, bacteria). We ask you to clean up your dog’s faeces at all times.

Stichting Het Zeeuwse Landschap

Stichting Het Zeeuwse Landschap beheert en beschermt waardevolle gebieden en historische pareltjes in Zeeland, bij elkaar bijna 10.000 ha. Geniet mee dankzij de vele wandelroutes, uitkijkpunten en excursies!

Ontwerp & realisatie: Nilsson