It is recommended that you exercise your pooch daily, and a good way to achieve that is to take them on for walks every day either as a playtime activity or bathroom breaks. Walking your dog has enormous benefits for both you and your dog. Yea, regular walks can reduce the risk of illness in your dog and keep their weight under control (although you have to watch their diet too). And for you, regular walks help to lower the risk of diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure.
Despite all these benefits associated with dog walking, there are still some certain hazards every dog owner should keep in mind as they enjoy a time out with their dogs.
Here are some dog walking dangers every dog owner should know about and what to do in case you encounter them:
As you walk your dog, you need to keep in mind that exhaustion is a real danger if your pooch is not in the best shape of their life. Besides, overworking a senior dog or an arthritic dog puts them at risk of exhaustion. So you should always ensure your dog is not overworked if you’re on longer walks.
You can start with short walks and progress to longer distances with time. Keep the pace down with your young puppy, senior, or overweight dog. If needed, you can get pain medication or some anti-inflammatory drugs for your dog to stay comfortable during the walk.
Also, ensure you keep a bottle of water for both you and your dog, especially if you’re going for a long walk. You can have a bowl with you if your dog is not trained to drink from the bottle.
2. Treated Lawns and pesticides
Some neighboring lawns may have grasses that have been treated with insecticides or pesticides. These chemicals are targeted at insects, and not mammals, but if your dog rolls around on it, it might cause a contact rash, and your pet might start to vomit or get itchy.
Hence, you should take care to keep your dog away from bushes having insecticides, rodenticides, or pesticides. But in case you encountered this skin irritation, you should quickly wash your dog in dish soap, or you can use an antihistamine like Benadryl or consult your vet for the best advice.
Note that rodenticides can cause internal bleeding in dogs, and if you notice lethargy, weakness, coughing, ensure you consult a professional immediately.
3. Contaminated water
Your dog is likely to become exhausted while you walking them, and they might get tempted to stop at the nearest body of water for a drink. But the danger is that some ponds contain blue-green algae, and they are toxigenic and can affect the nervous system, cause gastrointestinal issues and excessive drooling.
That’s more reason why you should keep a bottle of clean water while walking your dog. However, also ensure you monitor your dog closely to avoid drinking or wading in contaminated water. Also note that fetching in oceans may lead to accidental ingestion, causing dehydration and diarrhea, so watch it!
Many people toss half-eaten bagels for birds to enjoy, and some coffee shops also discard their trash. But sometimes, you can’t tell when your dog will get exposed to a potentially dangerous breakfast snack.
Besides, dogs cannot eat foods like grapes and raisins because it affects their kidneys. But unfortunately, many dog owners look away from the stray raisin bagels and allow them be within their dog’s reach. This has led to many cases of vomiting, lethargy, and kidney failure in dogs. So to avoid such conditions, you need to be mindful and keep your dog away from bagels.
5. Excessive sunlight
It’s no more news that we need to slather ourselves in sunblock, but our furry friends are not left out. If you have a dog with a light-colored coat, you need to know that most of these dogs have a sensitive pink skin that needs to be protected from sunlight. Besides, areas around the nose of dogs have thinner hair, and you need to always use sunblock if you need to take your dog on a walk.
There are many types of sunblock available, but you need to ensure the option you’re using on your dog is PBA-free.
Apart from sunlight, the heat from the hot pavement can burn the pads of dogs. So if your dog is comfortable in boots for walking on hot surfaces, you can get one for them. But if not, you can get moisturizing products or some ice to ease blisters.
6. Dogs getting lost
There are many cases of dogs getting lost during the walking period. A study conducted in 2012 found that about 15% of dog owners have once lost a dog. There is no fixed number of lost dogs, but it is estimated to run into millions.
So you need to be careful during dog walking, and ensure you have fully functional equipment in place. However, always have it in mind that your dog could run away with their equipment or slip out of their collars, especially if they see something frightening.
If you’re walking during the night, take a flashlight with you that fits into your small jean pocket. This helps a whole lot to prevent problems of getting lost.
Also, ensure you carry an ID for both you and your dog. You can place a tag carrying your dog’s name and your phone number on their collar.
7. Other dogs
One thing you need to keep in mind is that you’re likely to come across other pet owners on your walk. There are many reports of bad behavior demonstrated by pet owners that exposed every party involved to some risk.
That’s why trainers are now teaching dog owners the proper way to behave when they run into other owners walking their dogs. The safest thing to do if you see a dog coming your way is to move out of the way. It doesn’t matter how calm or relaxed the dog approaching you looks, animals can be unpredictable.
You can also keep an eye on the body language of both dogs. If you notice any sign of aggression, ensure you get the dogs apart as soon as possible.
Sometimes, dogs may come across gum or candy, and those that are made with Xylitol can cause digestive issues in dogs. This sugar substitute tricks the body into thinking it’s sugar, hence, causing hypoglycemia.
More so, if your dog consumes these sweets, they’ll become woozy and weak. If they have a high dose, it can lead to liver failure within 72 hours.
So ensure you keep an eye on what’s on your dog’s path. And if you suspect Xylitol consumption, take them to your vet immediately.
If you live in the city, one of the biggest dog-walking dangers you’re likely to experience is vehicle traffic. Many reports show a high number of dogs hit by cars, and this is majorly due to their owners not paying attention.
So what you need to do is to ensure you pick the right dog leash, with a quality and reliable material like hemp, cotton, or nylon. And the length should be 4 to 8 feet long.
Also, to be on a safe side, it is better to choose a quiet route in your neighborhood or take your dog to a local dog park where they can have fun freely without fear of accident.
For the safety of both you and your dog, you need to always keep an eye on the dog walking dangers highlighted above. You should also discourage your dog from eating poop, as they can get infected with some deadly parasites. Lastly, as soon as you get back from dog walking, ensure you check your dog’s body for the presence of ticks. Always call your veterinarian if you suspect anything you’re unsure about.