Updated: Apr 9, 2019
As dog owners, we know that going on walks with our canine pals is not only great bonding time, but also one of the most effective ways to ensure they receive proper exercise while building their social skills with other animals, children, and adults. Whether you’re walking in the woods or city, it’s important to keep basic precautions in mind to keep them - and you - safe.
1. Stick to the trails and sidewalks. Whether you’re going for a stroll through the woods or in the city, try to stay on established paths. Equally, keep your pet on a leash the whole time, especially in the city. Even if your dog is well-trained, it’s wise to practice caution especially if you’re exploring unknown terrain.
2. Watch the weather. Make sure to keep your walks to an appropriate pace and length of time depending on the weather. If it’s hot, monitor for signs of being overheated such as panting excessively. Similarly, if it’s cold, watch if your dog starts to shiver or show signs of distress.
3. Bring water. Pack a bowl and water, or ensure you can access water for your pup. If you’re going to a dog park, you’ll likely have water sources available. If you’re heading into the woods, it’s important to pack everything you might need. Collapsible bowls are especially easy-to-transport and quick to set up when you have a thirsty dog.
4. Equip your best friend with a reflective vest. If you usually walk with your pooch at dawn or dusk, invest in a dog reflective vest . In the early or later hours, it can be particularly difficult for drivers and cyclists to see you. For an added layer of safety, consider adding a clip-on blinking light to yourself or to your dog.
5. Ask before you approach another dog. You and your pup might be excited to meet a new buddy but it’s always best to proceed with caution and ask the owner if your dog can say hello. Not only is this good manners,but you’ll also set the foundation for a successful interaction.
6. Watch the ground. Especially if you live in a city, keep an eye out for broken glass and other debris on the path. If your dog is particularly food-motivated, keep an eye out for food waste. Not only can scraps like bones cause choking, but it can also lead to gastrointestinal issues. If they manage to swipe some food before you can catch them, try not to fret. Monitor your dog and if they start to vomit or display other concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian.
Following these tips will keep you and your furry friend safe and ensure an enjoyable walk.