They seem to be the must-have accessory for campaigners in the political world – and candidates in the Eastleigh by-election hope it will prove to be the paw-fect way to secure those vital votes.

Politicians and their supporters alike have taken to the streets of the constituency with their dogs in a bid to win the hearts of residents.

While candidates from the three main political parties have walked through Eastleigh alongside Government ministers and political bigwigs in a bid to attract votes, others have turned to man’s best friend to add some bite to their campaigns.

A host of political pooches have been out and about in the constituency, as supporters start to pick up on the scent of a by-election victory.

As reported in Saturday’s Daily Echo, UK Independence Party candidate Diane James visited the proposed gravel pit site in Hamble with her dog, Skye, to voice her objection to the controversial scheme.

She was closely followed on the streets of Eastleigh by another UKIP campaigner, who dressed his dog in a luminous jacket to help raise awareness of the party’s by-election bid.

As the National Health Action Party stepped up its bid to win the coveted seat, supporter Trish Hann took to the streets with her dog Sparky.

The radiographer, who is originally from Ringwood, took her political pooch along to the party’s by-election march on Sunday in a show of support for its candidate, Dr Iain MacLennan.

Also on the campaign trail at the weekend were 11-year-old Helena Vince and her dog Dash.

The duo nailed their political colours to the mast by sporting purple rosettes during a walkabout in Eastleigh, in support of independent candidate Danny Stupple.