5 Essential Dog Walking Tips
This article is written by Pet Circle Veterinarian,
Walking your dog regularly provides them with exercise as well as mental stimulation; but there are a few hazards you should look out for. Follow these 5 tips to keep you both safe while you're out and about.
1. Get the Right Gear
With so many great options available for harnesses, collars, and leads, there's no excuse not to keep your dog safe while out and about. If you are walking at night time, invest in an LED glowing collar, harness or lead and light up pendant to increase your visibility to passing drivers.
If you are using a retractable lead there are some important things to be aware of to prevent injury to you or your dog.
Retractable Leads: Be Wary
Retractable leads can be convenient in certain situations, but they can lead to certain dangerous situations if not used correctly. It is best not to let the lead out too far; it should be long enough that you still have effective control. Be sure to lock it off when it has reached the desired length so you aren't caught unawares. If the lead is too long you or your dog may become tangled or your dog could run into the way of incoming traffic!
Our Top Recommended Dog Harnesses and Collars
Using clever LED technology, the 'glowing' range from Doglite is perfect for keeping your dog highly visible at night.
Fuzzyard's range of harnesses come in a fun range of patterns and are durable, non-slip, and built to last.
A humane alternative to traditional 'choker chains', this tightening collar can be used as a training aid without inflicting pain or stress.
Rufus and Coco leads are premium quality, and all reractable models are equipped with safety locking mechanisms.
Dr Carla explains How To Fit A Dog Harness. Watch more videos on Pet Circle's Youtube Channel.
2. On or Off Leash?
Keeping your dog on a lead at all times is the safest way to walk, but if you are confident in their ability to come when called, off leash walking can be great fun for you both. Always make sure that you check the council regulations regarding off leash walking in your area, or you may cop a hefty fine!
Even the best made plans can go awry, so it is important to have a way of getting your dog returned to you if they run off.
Microchipping is a safe, affordable and lifelong way to ensure that your pet is always able to be identified. In fact, most states and territories now require dogs and cats to be microchipped. Your vet or local council can give you more information. Remember that if your contact details change, you need to update them with your pet's microchip registry. Read more about Microchipping Your Puppy.
ID Tags are not only fashionable, but provide another way in which your pet can be quickly identified. Unlike a microchip which needs to be read by an electronic reader, an ID tag instantly allows anyone who finds your pet to get your contact details.
4. Road Safety
When walking along roadways, stick to the footpath wherever possible. If you do have to walk on the road, it is best to do so facing oncoming cars with your dog on your side furthest away from traffic. It's important to train your dog to walk beside you, obey your commands, and avoid the road.
Top walking products to increase visibility
A light-up pendant can help keep your dog visible in the dark when out walking. Click on image to see our whole range of light-up pendants.
Using clever LED technology, the 'glowing' range from Doglite is perfect for walking your dog at night safely.
A reflective coat, lead, or collar is a great way to keep your pup visible in traffic.
5. Be Aware of the Weather
Dogs don't sweat apart from on their paws, and rely solely on panting to regulate their body temperature on hot days. This method of temperature regulation is not very efficient and they can quickly overheat, especially in the Australian summer.
Brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short snouts) like pugs, bulldogs and boxers are particularly susceptible. To reduce the risk of heat stress, avoid walking your dog during the heat of the day and provide plenty of opportunities for them to rest and drink water. To help keep your pup hydrated, we recommend taking a drink bottle and collapsible travel bowl on every daytime walk.
Signs of heat stress include excessive panting, heavy drooling, very red gums, weakness and loss of consciousness. If you think your dog may be affected it is critical that you get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Remember: AUSSIE ROADS GET HOT! Another thing to be mindful of in the summer months is the temperature of the footpath or bitumen. The soft pads on your dog's feet may burn and blister if they are walked on a surface that is too hot. If the road or pavement is too hot for you to hold the back of your hand against for a count of five, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
Walking your dog regularly doesn't just keep them fit and healthy, it also has benefits for you including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and increased cardiovascular fitness. Just be sure to stay safe, and bring plenty of tidy up bags with you!
Want to read more? Check out the following articles, also written by our vet team: