Walks are the best part of any day for your doggy friend. This is their chance to burn off energy, see some interesting scenery, and even interact with other pups. Walks are so vital, in fact, that guidelines state you should walk your pooch at least twice a day for fifteen minutes. And, that amount increases if your dog is a large or high-energy breed.
Of course, taking any pet outside of your home can be a risky move. At home, you control everything from cleanliness to who your dog meets. When you’re on a walk, though, your level of control plummets. And, if you aren’t careful, that could lead to risks for your favorite four-legged friend.
Whether you’re a new pet owner or not, then, it’s vital you take steps to keep your dog safe all walk long. Even if you think you're already doing this, the chances are that you're neglecting some vital areas. For full walking safety from now on, it's critical you take note of these tips.
Going off the lead isn't just about your dog
Too often, dog owners assume that their well-behaved and trained dog is fine to go off-lead. And, there's no denying that this is when walks really come into their own. Without a lead, your dog can explore where they want and burn off excess energy. Often, though, leads aren't about your dog so much as the dogs they come across. If your off-the-lead dog runs up to a violent dog on the lead, you'll only have yourself to blame. That's why it's always worth thinking twice before letting your dog loose. In general, keep your dog on the lead until you're near a field or open area where other friendly dogs are loose. Make sure, too, that your dog responds the moment you call them to heel. That way, you can stop them in their tracks if they're bounding towards an unfriendly looking pooch. Whatever you do, don't assume you can lose the lead because your dog is friendly. This would be a fatal mistake which could end in injury.
Always be wary of germs
Your dog will come across germs when they're out and about. That's part and parcel of going for a walk, and it's how they develop natural defenses. In a way, this is much the same as letting kids play outside to develop immune systems. In some cases, though, there are germs and parasites out there which you need to defend against. This is especially the case if you're walking in areas with high dog traffic or long grasses. It should go without saying, of course, that it's vital you deworm and deflea your dog regularly. This is important even for times when they're in your garden. It could also help to prevent them from picking up all kinds of nasties every walk time. What you might not realize is that you should also go one step further with this where walks are concerned. By far the most contagious illness in dogs is kennel cough. Despite the name, dogs can catch this anywhere if they interact with infected dogs. It's the canine equivalent of the common cold. As such, you should aim to steer well clear of dogs you spot coughing. This virus is so contagious that you should even strive to avoid their route altogether. It also pays to take antibacterial cleaners like those you’ll find if you visit website of companies like King Kanine. That way, you can clean your dog’s paws during and after walks to ensure they don’t pick up any nasties en route. All the better for keeping your pup healthy all walk long.
Always bring water and treats
Even if you’re heading out for a quick walk around the block, it’s vital that you take water and treats along for your dog. If they start panting along the way, you need to know that you can provide them with water at a moment’s notice. A walk is, after all, the dog version of exercise. Staying hydrated is incredibly essential for optimal health. Treats also play a part in health on a walk. Much like an athlete, your dog may need an energy fix to sustain them through their walk. By offering them some of their favorite treats, you ensure that they never run too low on energy. That ensures they can stay strong for a longer time and get the most out of walks. Treats also provide the handy benefit of being fantastic motivators. If your dog knows you have these to hand, they’re more likely to come to you the moment you call them. If you’re working with a dog off the lead, that could be the thing to avoid a nasty run-in with another dog.
Don’t forget that where you walk matters
Remember, too, that where you choose to walk matters. On a fundamental level, that’s because some areas are dog-free zones. If you’re caught walking with your pooch in these, you’ll face severe fines. From a health standpoint, though, where you walk matters for different reasons. Going back to the lead argument, you need to think about your dog concerning the dogs around you. Large walking areas, for example, are liable to have other dogs off their leads. If your pooch wouldn’t cope well with that, you may find it best to stick with sidewalks and less remote options. Equally, you need to think about the ground your dog will be walking on. Concrete, for instance, could do damage to your dog’s paws if you’re planning on things like throwing balls. Yet, grassy areas increase the risks of picking up parasites. Before your walk, then, consider what you intend to do with your dog, and which type of ground would be best to do it on.
It isn’t difficult to walk on the safe side when you take your dog out. You just need to think ahead and know the risks before you reach for that lead.
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