Dogs need to be exercised every day, even when it’s hot or dark outside. Follow these tips to make sure that you and your pooch are making the best choices to stay safe while out walking.
Walking is an important part of keeping your dog healthy, but it is counterproductive if it is leaving him dehydrated. Make sure you and your pooch are both properly hydrated before, during, and after exercising, especially during extreme heat. The American Veterinary Medicine Association recommends stopping an exercise routine to give your dog water at least once an hour during normal temperatures and more often if it is hotter. Remember to keep yourself hydrated as well.
Beware of Extreme Heat Times
Try to be aware of when it is the hottest time of day where you live. For most people, this is in the late afternoon, between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Try to walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the extra hot late afternoon hours.
Be Careful on Hot Pavement
Be extra cautious when walking your dog on hot pavement. If the pavement is hot to your touch, it will be hot to your dog’s paws, as well. Dogs don’t always respond to hot pavement right away and can walk for a long time, burning their paws, before you realize there’s been any damage. Use sound judgement and avoid walking across any black tops or extremely hot sidewalks. Walking in shady areas or around the hot hours should help you avoid burning your dog’s paws on hot pavement.
Use Proper Restraining Leash and Collar or Harness
Almost every city has a dog leash law stating that if you and your dog are off your property then she must be properly leashed. For some towns, a leash law not only states that it is your legal obligation to have your dog leashed but also to have your dog properly restrained. This means that if your dog can slip out of her collar and get loose that you could be liable if she causes an accident, gets into a fight with another dog, or bites someone.
Have Proper Identification on Your Dog
No matter how careful you are while out walking your dog, an accident could happen and he could slip away from you. If this happens, you want your dog to have proper identification tags and a microchip so that he can be safely returned. Even if your dog is microchipped, you will want tags that are visible letting anyone he comes across know that he is up-to-date on all of his shots and how to contact you so you can go get him safely home.
Keep Aggressive Dogs Muzzled
If there is any chance whatsoever that your dog might become aggressive and snap at another person or dog, you may want to consider keeping him muzzled while you are out walking in the neighborhood or park. Even dogs that are generally mild-mannered around their families have been known to get scared, or even protective, and snap at children running up on them. If you have any concerns it is best to err on the side of caution and keep a muzzle on your pup.
Always make sure you and your dog or visible to traffic. If you are walking during the early morning or late afternoon, you may be harder to see by drivers than you think you are. To avoid any horrible accidents of either of you getting hit, be sure that you are both highly visible. You want to dress in light or white clothing while out and attach a reflective leash and collar or harness. If your dog is dark or black you may want to go an extra mile and put on a reflective vest to boost his visibility.
Walk In Safe Areas
Please be careful while out walking your dog and only travel to areas known to be safe. Public parks are generally safe as are dog parks. Don’t venture into any neighborhoods that you either don’t know very well or that you know to be high in crime. You don’t want to risk being mugged while out enjoying a nice early morning stroll.