2 minute read

Just Walking The Dog...

Health & Wellness

Image by Pexels

J U S T  W A L K I N G T H E  D O G . . .

Everyone walks their dog, but does everyone know proper safety when walking your dogs. I went to our resident experts, our technicians Erin and Charlie, as they are not only in charge of walking patients outside but are also the first to greet pets from owners coming into the clinic. I was amazed at what they came up with! Right off the bat they both said, “no retractable leashes”! I assumed this was due to the fact that pets on retractable leashes always seem to circle around your feet, creating a tripping hazard for people. While this is one of the reasons that retractable leashes are not ideal, Charlie shared that they are dangerous from the standpoint of loss of control of your pet, which could result in a serious injury or even fatality.

While working an ER shift earlier this week Charlie witnessed a fatality when a dog that had been on a retractable leash ran out into the street and was hit by a car. Another common incident that the ER sees is a dog attack/bite. This can happen when a friendly dog on a retractable leash runs over to an unknown dog or when an aggressive dog is on a retractable leash and the leash malfunctions. In all scenarios, there is a false sense of security with these leashes; therefore, care should be executed when using them. Additional concerns when walking pets include temperature and situational awareness. Living in South Carolina, the weather can get hot! Ideal times for walking pets in the warmer months are earlier in the day and in the evening.

Unfortunately, wildlife tends to be more active during these times as well so making sure that your pet will not bolt if they hear noises and keeping them on leash to avoid exposure to wildlife if on trails is advised. Additional reasons to keep your pet on leash when walking are to avoid exposure to trash, foreign material, mushrooms and contaminated water that they might ingest. The benefits of walking your pet are endless! Walking is a healthy form of exercise (for both you and your pet) and promotes joint health and mobility. It also strengthens the bond between you and your pet and, in mostcases, helps to promote relationshipswith others. How often has a strangercommented “how cute is your dog?” or“what is his/her name?!” Getting outand walking increases the chance ofspeaking with neighbors and in somecases helps initiate conversations tomake new friends!

Written by Dr Holly Mims, DVM Veterinary Specialty Care