As the weather warms up, there is no better time to take your dog for an adventure in your local woodlands. Taking your dog for a walk always requires a little forethought, especially if it’s somewhere new. Take a look at our hints, tips and advice to help you when taking your furry friend for a walk.
Leads and collars
When choosing a lead for your dog, it’s easy to get confused over which one would work best. There are many leads and harnesses, especially for dogs who tend to pull. If your dog struggles with self-control, avoid retractable leads as they won’t give effective control and can lead to dogs getting tangled, running up to other dogs or, even worse, into traffic.
When choosing a harness, go for a soft, comfortable fabric that’s easily adjustable and won’t hurt your dog or cause damage. If possible, look for one that has light reflectors for dark evenings or dusky walks. Visibility is one of the most important factors, especially if you are walking in poorly lit areas.
In terms of which collar to use, again, comfort is key. Ensure it’s not too loose on your dog’s neck. If it tends to slide, then it’s a good indicator that it’s too big. When deciding on which one to buy, check if you can place two fingers comfortably between the collar and your dogs’ neck – if you can, you are good to go.
If you are in a public area, it’s best to keep your dog on a lead. Ask permission if you would like your dog to socialise with other dogs. Not all dogs are friendly or appreciate the attention of other dogs. Some can become nervous and upset if they feel their space is being invaded.
Pick up after your pooch!
It goes without saying, but always pick up after your dog. You don’t want a fine! No one likes to happen upon, or even worse, walk in another dog’s mess so take care to always bring bags for picking it up. There are lots of biodegradable bags on the market, so there are plenty of environmentally friendly bags to choose from.
If it’s suitable, you can stick & flick when you are in a country environment. However, always be careful as doggy waste contains harmful organisms that can cause harm to other’s dogs or humans. If not picked up, it can also make its way to the water supply.
When on a dog walk, safety is of utmost importance for both you and your dog. Try to stick to footpaths where possible. Keep your dog on the opposite side of on-coming traffic to ensure their safety and to prevent accidents.
Avoid letting your dog drink from drinking muddy or stagnant water puddles as there is a risk of contracting leptospirosis risks. Instead, take a collapsible water bowl with you and a fresh water supply. Dogs can get dehydrated quickly, so always be prepared.
Watch out for snakes, such as adders in spring, especially in areas where they are known to hang out. The warmer temperatures mean they will start to look for mates. It’s also a good idea to have a dog first aid kit to hand for instances such as this. Accidents can happen so it’s always good to be prepared.
Watch the weather and look out for signs of stress. If the footpaths get hot, so do your dogs’ paws. Instead during hotter months, choose a walk in a wooded or country area if possible. If not, consider little boots for your dog to protect sensitive paws.
It is the law to Microchip your dog, but make sure their details are up to date. This is a safe way to make sure that your pet is identifiable should they wander off while off the lead. It is also a legal requirement for all dogs to wear an ID Tags with a phone number. Should your dog decides to go on his own adventure, a quick call can get you reunited in no time.
After your walk
When you get home from your walk, always wash mud off, especially if you have been walking in woodland. Alabama Rot is a rare, but deadly illness which can cause skin, kidney damage and small blood clots. It is thought to be contracted in wet and muddy woodland areas and general advice is to ensure dogs are properly cleaned when they return home to avoid the risks.
Whether you are taking your dog on a long trek or a short walk, it is always wise to consider all aspects of safety both for you and your dog. Remember the basic good etiquette when walking ensuring you keep distance from other dogs, traffic while using the correct leads and collars. Bring water and always clean up after your dog. But most importantly, remember to have fun and enjoy your time out in the fresh air with your best friend!
And, as always, if you need help or guidance when choosing any pet products, some and see us in store.