Fitness with Your Furry Friend: Dog Walking Safety

Yesterday during my routine 1-mile walk with my 5-month old malt-shi puppy Jade, and had a horrible experience. I dropped her flex leash on her by mistake (it slipped out of my hand), while we were walking along a busy road in our neighborhood, and it startled her. She in turn, ran out into the road. My heart stopped. Luckily she wasn’t hurt, but she came literally two inches from the tire of a car that was whizzing by. I felt so bad about it that I carried her most of the rest of the walk. We were both pretty shaken up. Because of this, I wanted to share a few tips that I researched last night and today, on how to avoid mishaps while walking your dog. Enjoy (and Jade says hi!).

Avoid extended leashes

The leashes that allow the dog walker to expand the leash with enough room for the dog to cross the road are very dangerous during the summer. Drivers tend to drive faster in the summer months than winter months and have an elevated risk of hitting the dog or tripping the leash wire. As a driver, I have nearly hit multiple dogs because of extended leashes. As I would turn a corner I would move to avoid hitting the walker, but then the dog would be right in front of the vehicle, which is nearly unavoidable.

Wear Reflective Gear

After yesterday I figured if she did run out again, I would rather her be visible (I think the only reason she was avoided is because I ran out after her and the cars saw me). I bought her and myself a reflective vest. Dorky? Oh yeah. Safe? Definitely.

 

 

Always bring water for the dog

If you plan on an extended summer walk in extreme heat, you have to keep in mind that the animals’ fur coat will lead to heat exhaustion and extreme thirst. When I used to walk my dog, I would bring a water bottle and squirt it out on the ground for the dog to drink.

Look for overheating warning signs

According to the ASPCA, pets that experience overheating will have excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rare, drooling, weakness, or stupor. If your dog has any of these warning, signs bring them to cool environment or to shade, and stop any exercise.

Walk your dog in grassy areas

Have you ever walked barefoot on pavement? Pavement burns our feet the same way it burns dogs feet, which means you should look for grassy areas to avoid any injury to your pet.

Avoid unknown lawns or landscaped areas

Fertilizers and pesticides are a common problem for animals during the summer months because they will walk on sprayed areas, which cause paw problems such as drying, or they will eat contaminated growth, which can lead to a variety of illnesses. When doing any yard work look for products that say, they are safe for animals directly on the bag. When I worked for ACE Hardware in college, we sold a variety of pet safe lawn products.

Clean up after your pet

I live on a cul-de-sac that is desirable for dog walkers to walk because of the quiet neighborhood, but I cannot count how many times these dog walkers do not clean up after their animal. When walking a dog always remember to bring a plastic bag in which to dispose of any animal waste.

 

 

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