Now that spring is on the horizon, many of us will feel the urge to get back outside. One of the more popular activities for a pet owner is walking your dog and visiting all those beautiful, verdant parks and trails that are getting ready to burst into bloom.
Walking your dog on a leash is an excellent source of exercise and social opportunities, but it’s not something that comes naturally; it requires training, practice, and awareness. To have a truly great time with your best friend, make sure to keep these five essential dog walking musts in mind.
5 Things to Know Before Walking Your Dog
- Check that your dog’s vaccines and parasite preventives are current. Being out in the great outdoors may be one of your dog’s favorite things, but it also exposes him or her to additional risks. These risks often come in the form of contagious illnesses, like parvovirus and Bordetella, as well as parasites that carry an array of diseases, such as Lyme disease. Be prepared by making sure your pet is totally protected. When in doubt, we can help you determine the right parasite preventives and vaccinations for your precious pet.
- Know that your dog is leash trained and responds to commands. You may think your dog will be great on the leash, but if he or she hasn’t been trained, it could turn into an unplanned game of chase (or worse, an accident). Some dogs do better on the leash than others, but it’s important that your dog understands some basic obedience commands before venturing out into the big, wide world.
- Ensure your dog has been socialized. Socialization is another essential component of training and is vital to your pet’s safety and the safety of others. Ideally, your pet was socialized as a puppy, but if you’re unsure how he or she will react to strangers and other animals, it’s best to begin slowly. Enroll in group training classes where you can rely on the guidance of a professional trainer, as well as safe interaction with other Fido friends.
- Keep your pet’s full attention. In the age of handheld devices and smartphones, it’s tempting to multitask when out for a walk. Unfortunately, being distracted sets your pet up for a potential accident, escape, or encounter with something toxic or harmful. Before you hit the sidewalk or trail, stow away distractions and give your pet your undivided attention and supervision.
- Commit to being a courteous pet owner. A big part of having a great walk with your pooch pal is being a responsible pet owner. This means carrying those plastic baggies for waste, following park rules and public laws, and ensuring your pet is behaving around other people and animals.
Dog walking is a wonderful activity for two- and four-legged pals alike, but it does require some precautions. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call. You’ll be out with your dog enjoying that springtime walk in no time!