6 Things to Look Out for When Walking Your Dog

Posted by on April 1, 2021 in Pet Health with 0 Comments

Walking is an essential part of any dog owner’s day-to-day routine, but your daily stroll could pose more of a risk to your dog than you realise. Unfortunately, you are likely to encounter a wide range of health risks when you’re out with your pooch, which can make you fear for their welfare. By educating yourself about the risks and learning how to mitigate them, however, you can enhance your dog’s safety. With this in mind, take a look at these six things to look out for when walking your dog:

1. Pesticides

Many lawns, fields and verges are treated with pesticides to help the grass grow and to rid the area of insects and fungus. For animals, however, these pesticides can present a serious health risk. They’re typically poisonous when ingested, so, if your dog eats grass that’s been freshly treated with pesticide or, worse still, gets into a container of chemical pesticide, it can make them very ill, very quickly.

If you think your dog has ingested any type of pesticide, it should be treated as an emergency, even if they aren’t displaying any symptoms. To prevent this from happening, keep your dog on a lead when out walking, prevent them from wandering on to unfamiliar land, and consider using a muzzle so that they can’t eat things when they’re out and about.

2. Rubbish

Unsurprisingly, the vast amount of litter that’s left lying around in public spaces can cause injury and illness to dogs. Sharp items, like aluminium cans or broken glass, can easily lead to cut paws or mouths, for example. In addition to this, some dogs will attempt to eat rubbish, which means they can ingest all sorts of materials, including plastic, wood or even metal. In many cases, this can result in surgery being required, as the material is unable to pass through their digestive system and could even tear vital organs.

If possible, try to avoid areas that you know are likely to contain a lot of litter. However, this can be hard to do as even grass verges contain a significant amount of rubbish. If your dog shows interest in the rubbish that’s on the ground, keep a close eye on them while you’re walking and muzzle them, if necessary. Teaching your dog the ‘leave it’ command, can also be an effective way to prevent them from ingesting anything that may be harmful to them.

3. Ticks

Ticks feast on the blood of mammals, which means they’ll ‘adhere’ to your dog’s skin and swell in size as they feed. Although ticks will eventually drop off, they can cause significant harm when they’re present because they’re capable of spreading bloodborne diseases from one animal to another.

If your dog is bitten by a tick, you can remove it yourself, but care should be taken to ensure the whole insect is removed. If you’re unsure how to do this, it’s best to visit a vet. However, removing the tick does not necessarily eliminate the problem. If your dog has been bitten, a disease could have been transferred to them already.

Although ticks are most commonly found in long grass and bushes, they can be present in a variety of environments. Due to this, it can be tricky to prevent ticks on dogs. However, Bella & Duke’s herbal spray on repellent is a natural way of reducing the risk. By slightly adjusting the scent of your dog, repellents can make them a less attractive host for ticks, which means that they’re less likely to target your pooch. To find out more about how to protect your pet, take a look at this guide for ticks on dogs and learn how to keep your pooch safe. You can also pick up raw dog food from Bella & Duke, delivered to your door.

4. Water

Many people are surprised to learn that water can be harmful to dogs. After all, they need water to survive, and many dogs can’t resist jumping into lakes, rivers, or puddles. However, the difference is that drinking water has been treated to ensure it’s safe. In contrast, fresh water, like that found in rivers and lakes, can contain a vast array of parasites, germs, and viruses. Due to this, dogs can become very unwell if they drink this type of water. Similarly, puddles can be contaminated by nearby pesticides, which means they aren’t safe for your dog to drink either.

In addition to this, hazards lurking beneath the water, like sharp stones or discarded rubbish, can also cause accidents and injuries, which makes the water a dangerous place for our canine companions.

If you’ve got a water-loving breed, it might be virtually impossible to stop them jumping into a lake or a (muddy) puddle when they see one. To keep them safe, however, you should ensure that they don’t drink the water. Furthermore, check your dog before you go out and make sure they don’t have any scratches or sores, as this could increase the likelihood of them contracting something.

5. Diseases

Sadly, dogs can also contract diseases when they’re out walking, so this is something you need to be vigilant about. Alabama rot disease is, perhaps, one of the best-known health risks that can arise from a daily walk. Although the disease is relatively rare in the UK, it is difficult to treat and can be fatal if it’s contracted. Fortunately, dog owners are a caring bunch and will often publicise cases widely, so that other owners can stay away from an area that’s known to have had a case of Alabama rot disease.

The condition is spread more easily in muddy conditions, which means it’s more likely to affect dogs in autumn and winter. Ideally, you should avoid excessively muddy areas but, if you do walk your dogs in woodland or forests, keep them close and wash the mud off them as soon as possible.

6. The Sun

It’s easy to forget that dogs feel the impact of the sun even more than humans do but they’re incapable of sweating via their skin, which makes it much harder for them to cool down. Instead, dogs pant in an attempt to regulate their body temperature. When it’s very hot, however, this isn’t effective enough to prevent overheating, which can lead to serious health implications.

Before you head out with your dog on a sunny day, feel the temperature of the pavement with your hand or the sole of your foot. If it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. Similarly, try to avoid taking your dog out in the middle of the day, as this is when the sun is at its hottest. Instead, opt for early morning strolls and evening walks.

Keeping Your Dog Safe When You’re Out and About

With so many hazards to beware of, walking your dog can be worrying. However, you shouldn’t let this prevent you from having fun with your pooch. Now that you know more about the hazards they’re likely to face, you can take preventative measures to help keep them safe. By doing so, you’ll have peace of mind while you’re walking, and your dog will be able to enjoy themselves as they explore new pastures.

 

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