Safety is something we often think about in hindsight. Unfortunately, this is usually after something has gone wrong.
In this article we will take a moment to review some gear that will help you give canine safety some preventative consideration. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list, rather, we hope it will get folks thinking about how to keep their dogs safe.
Sometimes walking or exercising our dogs in low-light situations is unavoidable due to our busy schedules. Those of us that enjoy taking our canine companions along for outdoor adventure also regularly have our dogs out-and-about in the evenings or early morning.
It is easy to overlook how important visibility is until it is too late. Your dog might slip the leash to chase a cat and run right into traffic. If cars or cyclists can see your furry friend, it can prevent a terrible accident.
Reflective vests are one way to go. They definitely work if they are directly in the line of bright lights. However, drivers often neglect to turn on lights soon enough, and cyclists rarely have them at all.
An inexpensive fix to this situation is an LED dog collar or harness. Most of them recharge using a USB port and give you hours of high visibility in low light conditions. It is a no brainer for those dogs that are regularly outside at dusk, dawn or evening.
First Aid Kit for Dogs
You can go out and buy a special dog first aid kit, or you can supplement your household or car first aid kit to be canine friendly. Either way, being prepared for an emergency at home or on the road is considered basic safety gear for dog owners.
Make sure your kit includes (in addition to regular human first aid items):
- Hydrogen Peroxide – You can use this to make your dog vomit if they ingest something poisonous.
- Styptic Powder – Use this to stop bleeding fast. Really helpful if your dog pops a toenail on the trail.
- Muzzle – Dogs in pain can sometimes defensively bite people or other dogs.
- Extra Leash – Being able to restrain your dog is priority number one in an emergency.
- Vet contact information – If traveling, update this with the nearest vet to your location. Otherwise, keep your local vet’s information in the kit.
- Medications/Medical Conditions – Make sure that you have a record indicating what regular medications or medical conditions apply to your dog.
Orthopedic Dog Bed
It is a misconception that just because your dog will sleep on the floor that they should sleep on the floor. In fact, our canine friends benefit from a supportive bed just like people do.
Cheap dog beds are often aesthetically appealing but offer little actual support for your pal’s joints. To really do right by your pooch, consider an orthopedic dog bed. These beds offer much more in the way of real support for your canine.
Although pricey upfront, these beds will last longer than their cheap counterparts. They also give you a no-guilt reason to kick the mutt off the bed so you can get a great night’s sleep too!
Harness Verses Collar
Probably the most important thing you can do to protect your dog’s safety is to make the switch to a harness and ditch the collar. Some folks are resistant to harnesses because they do have a little learning curve in terms of getting them on and off. However, if you switch over you will be a pro in no time!
The advantages of a harness are well worth a few extra seconds at walk time. First, a properly fitted harness is nearly impossible for your dog to slip while out on a walk. This means that no matter how tempting the distraction is, you have firm control of your pup should they decide to try to make an escape.
Second, collars can lead to neck and spinal injuries. This is especially true if you have a strong puller on your hands. It is not uncommon for a rambunctious puller to do permanent damage to their windpipe or esophagus because of the pressure point an around the neck collar creates.
Do your dog a favor and make the switch!
Your Dog Deserves It!
Thinking about safety for your dog is just another way that you can thank your furry friend for being a vital part of your family. Taking a little time now to prepare for emergencies or prevent injury can go a long way to making sure your pooch lives a happy and fulfilling life.
Mat Coulton has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of Wiley Pup, a doggy lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for pet parents everywhere.