With spring upon us, you and your dog can bond over a stroll through the park.
With the warmer weather, you and your dog are probably eager to get outside. Depending on where you walk, you may encounter other people and animals, along with wildlife.
For your dog’s safety, our friends at the ASPCA® offer the following tips to help you better enjoy your time in the great outdoors:
• Don’t let your dog leave home without being up-to-date on vaccinations. You never know what critters you might meet on the trail.
• Retractable leashes are great on some walks, but keep an eye out for potential hazards. The leashes can get tangled on trees and bushes, and they’re hard for someone moving quickly—like a jogger or bicyclist—to see.
• Carry water and drinking containers for both you and your dog. Dogs love streams and creeks, but so do microscopic beasties that can cause illness. Water from home is best for your pooch.
• Teach your dog to leave passersby alone. To avoid potential conflicts, train your dog to come to you for treats when other walkers or nature lovers approach.
• Clean up after yourself and your dog. As the old saying goes, “Take only pictures. Leave only footprints.” And paw prints, of course!
No matter where you walk, you’ll want to protect your best friend by making sure your current contact information can be located, either on an ID or through information on a microchip. Should your dog slip through the leash, you’ll increase your chances of being reunited with your best friend.
Also, before you hit the road, make sure your dog knows, at minimum, four commands: sit/stay, heel, leave it and come. These commands can help you avoid an encounter with wildlife or substances that could make your dog sick.
With vigilance and good training, a romp in the woods can be walk in the park for you and your dog!
For more information on dog walking etiquette, visit the ASPCA’s guide to urban dog walking, as well as its guide to hikes.