People LOVE to get outside with their fur family and getting outside to walk is great exercise for both you and your dog, BUT with great fun comes great responsibility!!! There are a few safety tips to always keep in mind when you troll around town with Trixie!
*Start slow. Start with short walks and work up to longer ones with faster paces as the two of you get into better shape. You wouldn’t get up and start running miles upon miles tomorrow morning without building up to it, so don’t expect your dog to do it.
*Walk on the left-hand side of the street, facing oncoming traffic. This is just basic safety, but we could all use the reminder sometimes. It may be more difficult for drivers to see a smaller dog on a leash than a person on the side of the road. Keep your dog on the outside of the road to decrease their risk of being hit
*Always keep your dog on a leash. You never know what you might come across on your walks and you want to make sure that you have control at all times. Walks are full of excitement such as wildlife (squirrels and birds), new animal friends (other dogs on or off leashes), new humans (that may or may not like animals) so having control is an important aspect of safe walking.
*Proper identification. If your dog should happen to get away from you, you will want to get him back! Be sure that he is wearing his collar with his rabies and ID tags. Having your dog microchipped is an additional safety measure that is highly recommended. If your pets collar gets lost, he/she can still be identified.
*Bring a flashlight. If you walk early in the morning or later in the evening, having a flashlight can come in handy especially if walks go longer than expected at night.
*Check the weather. Whether it’s hot or cold, care for your pet the same way you would for yourself. If you would not go outside without a jacket and gloves, give the same courtesy to your pet, a jacket and booties. The ground outdoors can be extremely cold (or hot) and your pet should have protection on his/her feet. If it’s warm outside, make sure to bring plenty of water for both you and your pet and take frequent breaks. Protect your pet as best you can, remember animals cannot tell you they are hot or cold, it is up to you to protect them and make the right choices for them.
*Wear reflective clothing. You always see bikers in reflective clothing and it’s just as important for you and your pet to do the same to stay safe. Reflective leashes and collars are a great investment if you are an avid walker as well.
*Be aware. Make sure you are paying attention to what your dog is sniffing. Is his nose in a bush with a bunch of foxtails or perhaps a fallen beehive? Are there rattlesnakes where you are walking? How about the grass he is eating, was it treated with chemicals? If you don’t know the answers, keep your pet near you and watch what he/she is doing. It is also important to be aware of your surroundings and watching for other animals that may NOT be on a leash.
Any time of year is a great time to walk with your pets as long as you take the proper measures to make sure that you and your pet are comfortable and safe. There is nothing better (and healthier) than making daily activity with your pets a great habit.