Every dog owner knows that a relaxing walk with our dogs is one of the best things about sharing our lives with our four-legged friends. Unfortunately, accidents often happen during every day activities and dog walking is no exception – there are a wealth of things that can go wrong and put both ourselves and our dogs at risk. We’ve seen some tragic news stories surrounding this issue recently, so we wanted to put together a useful blog to help our readers keep safe, so they can enjoy endless blissful walks together – it might not be the cheeriest thing to think about but knowing we are prepared can give us peace of mind and prevent or mitigate risks.
So, here are our top tips for keeping safe on your walks…
Plan Your Routes & Tell People Where You’re Going
Many of our dog walks take place in more remote areas – we love countryside walks but if anything were to happen, we are often less accessible and harder to find. Knowing where we’ll be and letting someone know will make it much easier for someone to find and assist us if anything were to happen, particularly if we’re left unable to let them know where we are.
Use GPS & Trackers for Dogs and Humans
Make the most of the incredible technology available to us – you can share your phone location with friends/family members so they can track where you are and there are a range of different dog trackers out there, too. These are great as it means your dog is still traceable even if they get away from you. We recommend using a tracker that has GPS functionality – some devices, such as Apple air tags are not recommended for attaching to dogs as they rely on being in close proximity to other devices so won’t be helpful if your dog strays further afield or gets lost in a more remote area. Pit Pat & Tractive are two of the many brands on the market for dogs, and for humans Famisafe, Glympse and find my phone are a few of the many options available.
Don’t Wear Headphones
Awareness of our surroundings is important, wherever we are walking – while listening to some music can add an extra element of relaxation to our walks, avoid using anything noise cancelling or which covers both ears. Some headphones now have built-in mics and can be set to actively pick up outside noise so that you can still hear what’s going on around you – even then, we recommend keeping at least one ear totally free!
Dog walking peak hours are, understandably, before and after many of us are working and this means we tend to be walking our dogs during low-light conditions. Invest in some high vis clothing for both yourself and your pup – there are a variety of different dog coats, collars and leads which can all make your dog more visible to motorists and these are worth thinking about even during the day time or in rural locations as they could help you stand out to rescue services if you are injured, stranded or lost.
Check In with Others and/or Walk with Friends
If you’re able to meet up with friends or family to walk together, this is a great way to reduce the likelihood of a problem. There is safety in numbers and if anyone was to become unwell or get injured, having someone else around to assist you and call for help could be invaluable. If you’re not able to walk with someone, keeping in regular contact with someone who knows where you’re going and how long they expect you to be is a great way to make sure someone will know there is a problem as soon as possible.
Anti-Theft Dog Leads
There are a variety of different products out there, such as dog leads with wire cores to prevent them from being cut by a would-be dog thief, to give you peace of mind when out and about, particularly with the worrying rise in dog theft lately.
Not only are ID tags the law, a tag with appropriate information and contact details is the number one way to make sure you and your dog are reunited ASAP if they get lost as this is the quickest and easiest way for their rescuer to get in touch.
What To Do If Your Dog Is in Trouble?
We know this one is going to be hard to follow but, if your dog gets into trouble, you may need to pause and call for help. It’s all too common that dogs get themselves stuck in precarious spots such as frozen lakes or cliff edges. It’s important we don’t simply put ourselves in equal danger if this happens – focus on keeping calm and encouraging your dog to either stay still or swim etc depending on the situation, while you call for help. Rescue services regularly deal with these situations and you being in trouble as well will only make their job hard – and delay them helping your dog as they will have to rescue you, first!