There's absolutely no question that a walk for most dogs is the highlight of their day. The simple mention of the word sets their heart fluttering and their tails wagging with excitement. But, for new dog owners, it can be daunting to know how to get the most from your dog walks and, most importantly, knowing the best tips for dog walking safety.
We're here to help, however, with our dog walking safety tips. We'll cover our top tips for keeping your dog safe when out on a walk, how to get the most from your dog walks and what to do (and not do) when you're out with your dog.
In the end, we think that you'll learn a lot and have enough knowledge to make your daily dog walks safer and more fun than ever. Once you've finished this post, don't forget to share with your dog-owning friends and check out the MyPamperedPup Blog.
MyPamperedPup's Dog Walking Safety Tips:
Before your dog walk...
1. Regular check-ups
So, this one isn't really even about the walk itself - it's about knowing your dog inside and out, understanding what they're comfortable with keeping on top of their health and wellbeing.
Regular health check-ups with your vet are important so you know the situation with your pooch. If you're planning something extra strenuous, like a big trek out in the countryside, or you're thinking about taking your dog out running with you every morning, let your vet give them a once-over to make sure they're up to it. This is especially important in young pups and older dogs as both can experience joint discomfort from prolonged periods of exercise.
2. Training is essential
All the hard work and effort that you put into training your dog pays off during walks. Lead control, recall, following voice commands and the ability to sit and stay are all essential skills that can keep your pup safe.
Dog walks are absolutely full of distractions - people, cars, other dogs, squirrels, you name it! All these simulations can be overwhelming for any dog and training is an amazing skill to keep them out of trouble. Before you head out, spend some time going over (or teaching) your dog the basic training commands they'd need out on a walk.
3. Gather the right equipment
A dog walk is definitely one of those situations where the more effort you put in, the more you get out! To make sure that you've got the most control over your dog, invest in a good-quality dog lead that's comfortably attached to a well-fitted harness.
If you're still training your dog, or they're a little unpredictable in certain stimulating or stressful situations, we would recommend a shorter lead so you've got extra peace of mind that they can't get too far. Retractable leads are also a great idea to give your pup a little extra freedom to explore once they can comfortably explore without too much trouble.
Lastly - don't forget to get everything ready you'll need for the walk including, water and poo bags; they're most two most essentials things you'll need to bring with you!
During your dog walk...
4. Start slow and warm up
It's important to ease into any activity with your dog, let them start slow and warm up to the long walk. Let them sniff around their patch (your front door, garden path, just outside the house...etc.) as they'll want to have a look at who's been lurking around.
Once they've calmed down you can start building up the walk and increasing the pace.
5. Keep an eye on your surroundings
Wherever you're walking with your dog, keep your surroundings in mind and be wary of potential dangers around you. If you're walking in the town or city, be watchful for traffic and pedestrians and look out for other dog walkers as well as bikes and any other distractions you may encounter.
Keep an eye on the ground in front of you and your dog too as often, when in the city, there can be broken glass or other dangerous debris that your dog could walk on.
The proper training is invaluable in these situations as voice commands can be used effectively to steady your dog should they start to feel nervous or overwhelmed.
If you're walking out in the countryside, watch out for rough terrain that could take its toll on your dog's joints. If your dog is older, avoid steep uphill climbs.
6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
It's so important to have water accessible for your dog during the walk - this is true for all weather conditions and no matter if it's hot or cold. Your dog will work up a sweat and will need a drink.
Every so often, give your dog the opportunity to stop, rest and drink something. If you provide it for them, they will almost certainly take you up on the offer.
7. Carry the correct I.D for you, and your dog
In the UK, it's the law that all dogs must be microchipped. That's great because it means that dogs that run away or get lost, can easily be identified and returned to their owners. It's also a good idea to fit your dog with an I.D tag with your name and contacts details so that your pup can be easily returned, should anything happen whilst you're out and about.
Also - carry your own I.D with you so that you're prepared for any and every eventuality!
After your dog walk...
8. Give paws a once-over
After a walk, it's always a great idea to give your dog's paws a once-over and check for damage, cuts and foreign objects. If you've been walking in the winter, be sure to carefully wash your dog's paws and pads with warm water and a towel to remove any ground chemicals, check out more on protecting dog paws in winter in our Blog.
Following a walk, clean between the toes as well as around the paw pads. It's also great to take a look around for fleas and ticks that your dog might have picked up during their walk.
Also, check your dog's paw pads for general dryness as this too can cause its own problems. Dry dog paw pads can be sore and irritating, not to mention cracked and start to bleed! Use a natural dog paw balm to deeply moisturise your dog's paws, nourishing them and preventing them from getting dry.
Following a daily dog paw balm routine will help to keep your dog's paws feeling soft and spongey, all year round.
9. Give your dog a break
After you're settled from your walk, and you've given your dog's paws an inspection, your pup is most likely going to want a drink and a lie-down. Give your dog the time to rest and relax after a period of exercise as this is important for them to recover.
Walking with your dog is a rewarding and fun experience for the both of you. Staying safe is a major part of that enjoyment. Follow these simple tips and both you and your four-legged friend will be happy!