With elections happening across the country, national pet charity Blue Cross has released advice for dog owners who may want to take their pet along to their local polling station.

Posting photos of dogs at polling stations has become popular trend on social media so the national pet charity has put together a ‘ruff’ guide on voting with your pets.

Whether or not you can take your dog inside varies between polling stations. According to guidance from the Electoral Commission, dogs, apart from assistance dogs, are not usually allowed inside as they can disturb voters.

However, some polling stations may be more flexible. If you’re thinking of taking your dog along with you to vote, it’s best to check with the venue in advance.

If your dog is not allowed in, don't leave them tied up outside, as there is an unfortunate but real risk of theft, especially with recent figures showing pet thefts are on the increase. It’s best to leave your dog at home, or to bring someone along with you who can wait outside with your pet while you vote.

Photos of dogs pictured next to polling station signs has become a regular trend on social media along with #dogsatpollingstations but it is against the law to communicate information about how someone has voted, is about to vote or to communicate the unique ID ballot paper number. 

The Electoral Commission has issued guidance to officials suggesting people should not allow photos inside polling stations as accidentally including any of the above details in the background of a shot could lead to them breaching the law.

Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at Blue Cross said: “We love how #dogsatpollingstations has become an event across the country at every election but do check in advance with your polling station to see if they allow dogs inside before taking them along.

“Sadly there’s a real risk that your beloved pet could be stolen if you leave them tied up alone outside, so take someone with you who can stay with your pet while you vote, or leave your pet at home.”