January is Walk Your Pet Month—if you own a dog, it’s important to consider a few things when walking your canine companion. There’s more to it than snapping on the leash and heading out! Learn more below from a vet in Portland, OR:
Your dog should know a basic recall command like “stay” or “come” so that you can keep your pet nearby during walks. You don’t want your dog darting off after a squirrel or a neighborhood cat. Commands like “sit” or “heel” can also be very useful. If your dog doesn’t already know these basics, talk to your veterinarian about getting started on a training regimen.
It’s always smart to use a leash when walking your dog outdoors, even if they’re exceedingly well-trained. Even very obedient dogs can be startled by loud noises or decide to take off after something when the mood strikes them. In addition, dogs are required to stay on-leash in some public areas.
Always bring a few plastic grocery bags or waste bags along with you on your walk; these will be important for picking up after your pooch. It’s rude to leave your dog’s droppings in public, and it’s also unsanitary. Remember—dog feces can carry diseases and parasites, and other pets and children may come in contact with it if you don’t pick it up! Pick up your dog’s droppings and dispose of it properly once you get home.
Keep this in mind: not everyone is as much of a dog-lover as you are. Not everyone is interested in being greeted with a slobbery kiss, either! Always be mindful of passerby, and make sure it’s okay with them before Fido runs up to offer a greeting. This is especially important when your pup is meeting young children. Also use caution when your dog meets other dogs.
Many of us walk our dogs at night. Whenever possible, choose a road with a sidewalk or a wide shoulder at the very least. Both you and your dog should don reflective gear—hats, vests, shoes, leashes with reflective strips sewn in, etc.—to make yourselves more visible to passing motorists and other walkers.
Would you like more advice on proper etiquette for dog walking? Does your canine companion need an examination? Make an appointment to see your Portland, OR veterinarian today.