Getting outside to walk is great exercise for both you and your dog. There are a few safety tips to keep in mind when you're spending time with your pup and getting your exercise.
10 Dog Walking Safety Tips
- Always walk on the left-hand side of the street, facing oncoming traffic. This is basic pedestrian safety, but we could all use the reminder sometimes.
- Keep your dog on your left side, away from traffic. it may be more difficult for drivers to see a knee-high dog than a person on the side of the road. Keep your dog on the side away from the cars to decrease their risk of being hit.
- Use sidewalks whenever they are available. Again, basic pedestrian safety. If you live in an area with sidewalks, use them. If you don't have sidewalks available, stay as close to the side of the road as possible, and step off the road into the grass when traffic is coming.
- Keep your dog on a leash at all times. You never know what you might find on your walks. Keep your dog on a leash so you have control if he tries to dart into traffic, chase a squirrel, or make a new friend.
- Be sure your dog has identification. If your dog should happen to get away from you, you want to get him back! Be sure that he is wearing his collar with his rabies and identification tags. Consider getting your dog microchipped as a form of permanent identification in case he loses his collar.
- Pick up after your dog. Please be considerate and pack a plastic bag or two to clean up after your dog if he takes a bathroom break on your walk. No one wants to find that present on their lawn!
- Bring a flashlight. It gets dark early in the winter months, so having a flashlight can be handy if your walk goes a little longer than planned.
- Wear reflective clothing. The light around dawn and dusk makes it the most difficult for drivers to see you. Wear reflective clothing, and consider a reflective or light-up collar or leash for your dog. This will make it much easier for drivers to see you.
- Work up to it. You wouldn't think of jumping off the couch today and running a 5K tomorrow. If your dog hasn't been exercising with you on a regular basis he is going to need some time to get in shape. Start with short, slow walks and work up to longer distances and faster paces as the two of you get in better shape together.
- Plan for the weather. Be sure you and your dog are dressed appropriately for whatever the weather might bring.
Lace up those sneakers, grab a flashlight and a leash, and get walking!
Do you have more questions about exercising with your dog? Call us or come in to talk with our veterinarians or veterinary technicians about getting your dog on a regular exercise program, or what other safety precautions you may need to take.