If you own a dog, then you already know how much they love to be outside. Not only do they enjoy it, but it is your responsibility as a pet owner to make sure your pooch gets outside to revel in the sunshine and fresh air as much as possible! Of course, there are some factors you will want to consider before you let your dog out the door to run and play. We asked Dave Miller of Cozy Crates, his insights into outdoor dog safety and care will surely help dog parents so read on to learn how to keep your pup as safe as possible.
Identification is your first step
No one wants to lose track of their dog, but you never know what will happen when you are out and about in the wild. Your dog should always have some kind of identification on them whenever they go out. Consider the following two most popular forms of identification:
Dog tags- Dog tags are the easiest way to keep identification on your pup. They can be purchased online or in pet stores, as well as through kiosks in many retail stores. Dog tags should have your name and phone number engraved on the tag. Then, firmly attach it to a flat buckle collar.
Microchips- Your vet can inject a small microchip under your dog’s skin that cannot be lost. On this chip will be a number that is registered with various agencies. If your dog gets lost, a scanner will be able to pull up your name and number from the chip. Since your dog’s information will be in several national agencies, they can be found even if they end up thousands of miles away!
Make sure vaccines and preventative care issues are all up-to-date
You always want to make sure your dog’s shots and vaccines are all up to date. Vaccines are extremely important to the health of your fog, especially the rabies vaccine. Your vet will make sure your dog is up-to-date on the vaccines they need to be healthy. If you plan to travel, ask your vet if there are any additional vaccines your dog may need.
Preventative medications are also very important when your dog plans to spend time outside, especially in areas that deal with a lot of pests. Flea and tick preventative medications should be given to your dog before he goes outside. It’s also a good idea to check for any ticks after coming in from the outdoors even if your dog has been treated beforehand.
Dog-proof your yard
The best choice for a home with a dog is to fence in your yard. Make sure the fence is built high enough that your pup will not be able to jump it. You would be shocked at how high an excited dog can go! Check to make sure there are no areas at the bottom of the fence your dog may try to dig through. If you have a latch on a gate, make sure it is one they cannot open on their own. Many dogs will learn how to open gates when the latch is easy to flip.
If you plan to let your dog out into the yard unsupervised at times, make sure your yard is a safe place to run and play. Pick up any small toys your kids left behind to prevent your dog from chewing or ingesting them. Put away tools, lock up chemicals, and look for anything your dog may wish to chew on.
Keep them on a leash
When you are out on a walk, always keep your dog on a leash. Even if he is a gentle soul, other dogs out with their owners may not be the same way. Furthermore, not every passerby is fine with dogs off of their leashes. Some may even be scared of your dog, so it is important to keep yours securely on a strong leash for everyone’s safety and comfort. A leash will also help if you are out in town running errands and have to step into a store or away for a minute. This way, you can use the leash to contain them to a stationary object while you complete your business.
Keep an eye on your dog at the dog park
Sure, an off-leash dog park can be heaven for a rambunctious dog and its frazzled owner. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep your eye on them at all times. If you think they may get into a fight with another dog or get into something that doesn’t look safe, put them back on the leash.
It’s always a good idea for your dog to go through some type of obedience training before you even take them to a dog park. Your pup needs to learn how to socialize with other dogs in a controlled setting before being left to run rampant with other dogs.
Always go out prepared
If you go out for a walk with your dog, whether around the block, on a hike, or to the local dog park, always be as prepared as possible. In fact, think of it like you were bringing a small child! Bring along plenty of fresh water and a bowl to give your dog hydration as needed. Consider looking for a collapsible dish that fits easily in your bag or backpack. A small bag of favorite treats will be helpful if you want to reward your dog for good behavior. It’s also important to watch the weather when you and your dog are outside. The asphalt can quickly heat up and burn the paws of your pup if you aren’t careful, so stick to the grass or wait until the weather cools down if this is a concern. You may also want to invest in booties that will keep your dog’s feet protected from the heat.
Keep them well-groomed
Taking your dog to get groomed isn’t just for looks! When your dog is groomed properly in the hotter months, he will be much cooler when you head outside. It also cuts down on the risk of bugs or objects being caught in their fur. The groomer will also keep your dog’s nails trimmed each time you visit. That way, your pet will be able to walk comfortably outside at all times.