Did you know that there are nearly 90 million dogs owned as pets throughout the United States? Adopting a furry new friend can be a big responsibility for a first-time dog owner. After all, your dog will need healthy food and water, plenty of love, and more than a little exercise.
One of the best ways to get your dog the exercise it needs it by taking them for walks. Most veterinarians and animal doctors recommend walking your dog around four times a day for at least 15 minutes at a time. On top of that, pet experts recommend larger dogs and more athletic breeds get even more time outside playing fetch or going on runs. For example, a small breed like a Shih Tzu should have no problem maintaining its weight with these short walks each day, so long as they’re also getting a healthy diet. But a large, athletic breed like a Doberman would need a much longer walk or run to maintain their health.
But don’t let the size of your dog fool you: active breeds need plenty of exercise, regardless of size. A terrier, for example, is a small breed dog that needs at least an hour and a half of playtime each day. Otherwise, their pent-up energy could result in anxiety. When this occurs, you might have to look for the best prices on carpets because you’ll experience accidents in the house, chewed up carpets and furniture, and other forms of self-soothing from your bored pup.
You don’t have to be the most athletic person in the world, but part of caring for your pooch means getting up and getting some exercise, even if it means throwing the ball in the backyard for an hour. In fact, some people looking to lose weight will adopt a new furry friend in the hopes of shedding a few pounds while they get a lifelong new pal. Of course, adopting a dog isn’t the only reason you should adopt a new pet, but it can certainly be a helpful nudge in the right direction if you’re trying to get your health on track.
As a dog owner, dog walking safety tips are essential. After all, every dog owner should walk their pet regularly. Here are some of the top dog walking safety tips that you should consider if you’re getting a pet of your own.
Always walk your dog on a leash
When you’re walking your dog, your pet is your responsibility. You might have the best-behaved dog in the whole world, but an accident can lead to dire consequences. As such, it’s essential that you always walk your dog on a leash. This will keep you in control of your pet while ensuring it stays safe from passing cars, strangers, and, of course, other dogs.
Pet owners that walk their dogs off-leash are more likely to get smacked with charges from dog bite attorneys than pet owners who keep their dog tethered. Even if your dog is well-behaved, that doesn’t mean that another dog will lunge at your pet, causing panic. The same goes for a curious child who might step on your dog’s paw. If you have your pet on a leash, you will be able to tug your pet away from danger at the first sign of trouble.
It just goes to show that leashing your dog isn’t for the health of other people: it’s to protect your dog from harm, too.
Luckily, there are plenty of leashes to choose from when you want to give your dog more freedom. The typical cloth leash is great for the best control over your pet. You can also invest in a retractable leash if you’re alone in a park and want to give your dog more freedom. The only time that you should let your dog off the leash is at a dog park or if you’re completely alone in a secluded, safe area.
Avoid sewer grates and other harmful features
Dog walking safety tips are also essential for sewer grates and other harmful city features. Most dogs on a walk have the wherewithal to avoid sewer grates and manholes. Unfortunately, a distracted dog might still forget to watch their step and land a paw into the sewer grate.
This is harmful for a number of reasons: not only could this cause serious injury to your dog’s paws, legs, and ankles, but it can also make them wary of walks in the future. Of course, these features are necessary to support your city’s plumbing; without these grates, water buildup could lead to floods or worse. But when you’re walking your dog, watching their step is just as important as you watching your own steps.
If you live in the city, cigarette butts, broken glass, and stray bits of food could also put your dog at risk. Avoid these features and try to walk in safer areas if you find that this is a recurring problem. Walking your dog is an important part of dog care, but ensuring their safety needs are met is a top priority.
Dog walking safety tips advise walking your dog in more dog-friendly areas, like public parks, waterside trails, and streets with ample sidewalk room. It might be worth it to look at some car deals online if you want to drive further out of the city to visit more scenic locations.
Above all else, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog while you go for walks. These helpful dog walking safety tips will help bolster your pet’s safety even when you’re looking at your phone to switch to another song while on your walk.
Are you wearing the right footwear when you go for longer walks?
Slipping on a quick pair of sandals is fine if you’re going for a 15-minute walk around the block. But if you’re going on a longer walk or even a run, you want to ensure that your feet are well-supported. This is because dog walking safety tips aren’t just for your beloved pet: they’re for you, too.
That’s why it’s important to invest in a good pair of walking sneakers. If you happen to have some health issues, buying sneakers for foot problems in mind is another great tip. Plantar fasciitis is a common health issue among middle-aged and elderly folks who have spent a lifetime on their feet. If you’re trying to walk your dog in shoes that don’t support your health issues, your walks will be more painful than they should be. This can discourage you from taking your dogs on the longer walks that they deserve.
If you’re having picking which shoes are right for you, you can always visit your doctor or have a chat with a podiatrist. Investing in a new pair of expensive sneakers may not be ideal, but buying a pair of shoes that help your health is essential for your comfort.
Speaking of shoes, you shouldn’t hesitate to buy shoes for your dog if needed. Colder northern climates and excessively hot summers can make concrete damage your dog’s feet. Protect their paws with shoes. It will be easier to get into the habit of having your dog wear shoes if you start putting them on your pet at a younger age, even if the weather is mild. Speaking of weather…
Watch the weather
Everyone loves the idea of walking their dog on a nice, warm day. Unfortunately, noticing the signs of heat distress in your dog can be difficult. Dogs don’t show signs that they’re getting too hot like humans do. Here are some of the top signs of heat distress and exhaustion among dogs:
- Excessive panting
- Drooling or excessive salivating
- Trouble breathing
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting
- Muscle tremors
- Collapsing/lying down
The best dog walking safety tips recommend bringing water and food with you if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. The water should be clean and you should have a bowl to put the water in for your dog’s convenience. Luckily, there are plenty of collapsible bowls on keychains available nowadays.
If your dog shows any of these signs of heat exhaustion, it’s important to get them water and shelter right away. Find shade, or better yet, bring them inside where there’s air conditioning. If your home isn’t equipped for summer weather, don’t hesitate to call AC repair services to get this rectified. After months of disuse, it’s likely that your AC ducts will need to be cleaned and fan repairs should take place before you lower your thermostat for warm weather. Your pets will thank you when the hotter days finally arrive.
When you do walk your dog in the heat, watch out for these signs of heat exhaustion. To help prevent heat exhaustion in warm weather, avoid walking on hot concrete or asphalt and seek out shady areas whenever possible. You should also never leave your car in a hot car since temperatures can skyrocket in a matter of minutes. Follow these dog walking safety tips for a safer summer.
Don’t forget about social distancing
Times are tough right now, and social distancing is key when you go outside. This can be a huge change for dog owners that are used to interacting with people on your regular walks.
After all, your dog will want to touch noses with other dogs, excited college students will want to pet your pooch, and you might forget about social distancing when nicer weather hits. It’s important to remember that we need to keep six feet apart from other people to help flatten the curve. Since our dogs don’t know about social distancing guidelines, you should walk with your pet closer to your side now more than ever. On top of that, it’s vital that you always ask permission before letting your dog interact with others, including other dogs. This last point is an incredibly important piece of this dog walking safety tips list: permission is key. Even if a dog seems friendly, that doesn’t mean that it is. Even though your dog is friendly doesn’t mean that you can bring it up to whomever you please. Respect your neighbors’ autonomy by communicating effectively, even if you’re wearing a face mask that muffles your voice.
Dog walking safety tips
Pet wellness should be a top priority for every dog owner. Dog walking safety tips are essential when you want to ensure your pet has a healthy lifestyle. The next time you’re ready to take your dog on a walk, consider these tips to help everyone stay a little bit safer.