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Taking your dog for a walk is a great way for them to burn off extra energy, explore the world around them and spend some quality time with their favorite person, you. There are many benefits to walking your dog, but there are also many hazards to keep in mind. Here are some simple ways you can keep your best friend safe.
1. Keep Your Pet on a Leash
Keep him leashed. For your pet’s safety and that of others, you need to be able to keep your pet close in case they bolt. And, it can happen to anyone, even the calmest dog can become startled by a loud noise.
Avoid retractable leashes. Retractable leashes make it difficult to control your dog and are hard to reel in quickly during an emergency. They are also known to cause injury to dogs and humans. Grabbing the leash quickly to gain control of your pet in an emergency can cause burns, cuts and sometimes digit amputations. Not to mention, when dropped they’re loud which can cause a dog to bolt out of fear and as the leash follows them so does the noise, making your dog run faster.
Always make sure that you and your dog can be easily seen. When walking at night or at dusk bring a flashlight and wear reflective clothing (or harnesses if you’re a pup!) Dogs in wheelchairs (especially smaller breeds) can be hard to spot at any time of the day, attach a flag or blinking light to your dog’s wheelchair to make them more visible, especially when walking in a high traffic area or crossing busy streets.
3. Protect Their Paws
In hot summer months the pavement can heat up to dangerous temperatures. If the pavement is too hot for you to touch with your bare hand for five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. The pads of your pet’s foot are tough, but they’re still sensitive enough to burn. To avoid paw burns, have your dog wear boots to protect their paws. Boots will also protect against debris that can hurt their paws and any chemicals that are used to treat grass or the road.
4. Walk Facing Oncoming Traffic
When walking on the street, always walk your dog on the left-hand size of the street – facing traffic. This allows you to see all oncoming traffic. And always keep your body between your pet and the road. People are taller than dogs, and much easier for cars to see!
5. Choose a Harness instead of a Collar
In some breeds a collar can choke them or slide off easily over their head. If your dog tends to freeze suddenly or pull, a collar can create serious damage to the trachea, or neck and cervical disk problems. A harness wraps safely around your pet’s upper body and chest. A dog harness vest is usually more comfortable for your pet to wear and gives you more control over your pet during walks.
6. Stay Focused
Your daily walk is the perfect time for you to connect with your dog. Leave the phone at home or in your pocket. And never walk with earbuds in your ears. Headphones drown out the noise around you, however they also drown out warning sounds that you need to be aware of, such as: cars honking, squealing tires, or the sound of an aggressive dog about to attack.