This scenario plays out on a daily basis again and again. The end of the story ranges from scare to fights, bites and costly trips to the vet and even the hospital. Why does it have to get to this? It doesn’t. Dog ownership holds great responsibility that stretches far beyond feeding and yearly vet visits. Here are 6 reasons you might want to keep your dog on a leash when out on a walk.
#1 Lower the Risks, Maximize Safety
No matter where you live, there are distractions all around. Whether in the backwoods of Montana or a large metropolitan city like Los Angeles, there are plenty of things to catch the attention of not just our dogs, but us as well. Traffic, lights, wild life, farm or road equipment, free roaming domestic animals or even feral animals are chief distractors. Being aware of things that can easily be a risk to your specific dog will increase the level of safety. If you know that your dog is spooked by the air brakes on the garbage truck, then maybe a walk before or after your garbage has been picked up would be helpful. If your dog is afraid of thunder, it would be prudent (if possible) to go for a walk prior to bad weather setting in and providing safe spaces in the home for them to go to feel safe.
#2 Unpredictable Circumstances
Knowing where you are going to take your dog for a walk is good, but owners have to know that anything can change your plan for you. If a dog becomes excited, angry or scared by a car that backfires, children that suddenly enter the scene running up to you, a neighborhood dog or squirrels running around in the grass, they could simply run off, give chase in pursuit of something desired or engage in a fight.
#3 Unknown Dangers
Let’s face it, dogs can be very curious. Those who are food driven can pick up on the scent of tasty morsels dropped by strangers and want to give it a try. Others must investigate what dog has visited a particular tree or patch of grass and spend time sniffing. Grass grazers often graze on other plants and foliage as well. This could be unhealthy and toxic.
Dogs also each one another’s poop (YUCK!) and many are lovers of cat poop. A dog that consumes the poop of a dog with a compromised immune system could easily catch something.
#4 All Dogs are Not Friendly
Just because you have a fun loving dog doesn’t mean that other people do. A dog off leash that wanders over to make friends with another dog could be met with an angry bite. It is never a good idea to assume that just because a dog looks friendly it is. Having your dog on a leash gives you more control in case your dog gets scared, but.
#5 You Could Lose Your Dog
When dogs are excited, angry or scared, many of them lose their natural self-preservation skills and will run into the street, fight another dog (even though this might be out of character) or completely disregard their owner’s commands. The commands “stop, sit, come, out and leave it,” often fall on deaf ears when their emotions run high. A dog running away is not the only way a dog owner could lose their dog. Injuries sustained from being hit by a car could result in the loss of the dog’s life. A dog running around could easily be either stolen or picked up and taken to a shelter. Dogs can travel great distances in a short period of time. If they are taken to a shelter outside of the area the owners think they are in, they could be adopted out or euthanized. Also, if a dog gets into a fight with another dog, it could lead to an investigation that could result in the dog being put down.
#6 People are entitled to walk peacefully without having to deal with your dog.
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is a dog lover. A lot people hate dogs. In many cultures, it is believed that dogs are to be kept outside and not domesticated. Some just aren’t tolerant of wet noses and shedding dog hair; while still others are terrified of them. It is also worth noting that many people are simply allergic to dogs. Exposure to them can cause a variety of reactions from itchy skin and difficulty breathing to full cardiac arrest. People with severe allergies normally carry an EpiPen (Epinephrine auto-injector).
In order to assure the greatest safety to your dogs, walk them on a leash until there is a safe place, such as your own fenced in property or an off leash dog park.
While the growing need for pet-care services has prompted many tech companies and venture capitalists to enter the industry in recent years and launch large pet-sitter directories, don’t let the click and select convenience of the online sites and apps overshadow the benefits of selecting and supporting a local professional pet-sitting business established in your community.
While some apps and sites offer on-demand pet sits and dog walks, there are many advantages to taking the time to seek out—and book—the services of a local professional pet-sitting business:
- You are able to avoid the middle man. When you use your local professional pet-sitting business, you are able to contact the pet-sitting business owner directly and book your services through him or her. You also handle payment directly through the business (versus a third-party site) so this gives you more flexibility in payment options, depending upon the pet sitter’s policies.
- Your pet-care provider will have insurance customized to his or her specific business needs. While some online pet-sitter directories may provide insurance for pet-sitting visits booked through the site, using a local professional pet-sitting business—that maintains its own pet-sitter insurance—allows you to confirm that the pet sitter has insurance specific to his or her business and the services offered. It’s important to note that the insurance coverage offered by some of the pet-sitter directory sites and apps require a large deductible to be paid by the pet owner should an issue occur. When using your local professional pet sitter, you are able to ask for proof of insurance and confirm that the business has an insurance policy that is customized for pet sitting. This ensures that your pet (and home) are covered should an accident occur during the pet-sitting assignment.
- You put more money into your local economy. While apps and online pet-sitter booking sites may offer a convenient online payment option, most sites and apps keep a portion of the payment, with pet sitters able to keep only around 80 percent of what the client pays. Working directly with a local professional pet-sitting business allows you to fully contribute to your local economy, with your entire payment for pet-sitting fees going to a local business owner—who in turn, is likely supporting other local businesses. It’s a win-win!
Take the time to “shop local” for your pet-care needs.
With more pet-care options than ever before, it’s more important than ever that pet owners devote time for their search to find the perfect professional pet sitter for their pets. The peace of mind that comes from using a professional pet-sitting business that is insured, bonded and can offer proof of a clear criminal history is priceless. Plus, seeking out the services of a local professional pet-sitting business ensures you are utilizing the services of a local professional that is rooted in your community, involved in local pet-related efforts and is contributing to your local economy.
When making a family disaster plan, it is important that your plan include every member of your household, including your pets. A well thought out plan can save lives. We all know that the best planning takes place before a disaster or emergency happens. Responding to a disaster or emergency while it is happening can only cause chaos, frustration and could lead to injury and loss of life. Here are the top five things you must to in order to be ready for a disaster or every day emergency:
1. Properly ID Your Pets
While a new trend is taking place among pet owners to allow their pets to forego using collars and ID tags because they are microchipped, this could become problematic if you have an emergency. If separated during an emergency, you have a greater chance of being reunited with your pet/s if they are wearing ID tags with up-to-date information such as your phone number, and the phone number of a pet sitter or friend who knows your pet.
2. Make a Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit
Include the following items:
|food and water||medicines and records||litter box, scoop and bags|
|carrier and leashes||pet photos with descriptions||notes and vet contact*|
|pet bed and toys||list of known pet friendly lodging||your pet|
*Be sure that your notes about your pet/s includes their feeding and medication routine and any behavior issues.
3. Make a List of Safe Places to Take Your Pet
Most pet owners are not aware that even though they need to evacuate, their pets cannot come with them to a local or state run or Red Cross disaster shelter due to health and safety regulations. Preparing a list of pet friendly hotels, motels and inns as well as veterinarians and boarding facilities ahead of time will increase the chances of you finding a safe place for your pet. Don’t forget to ask how many pets you can bring and what size they can be.
4. Heed Warnings from the Local Weather Advisory and First Responders
Be sure to follow instructions during a disaster. Ignoring weather advisories or instructions from law enforcement or other first responders can put you and your pet/s in harm’s way. Having an emergency radio (often given free by local utility companies) can be helpful to keep abreast of changing conditions.
5. Communication is Everything!
It is important to communicate during disasters or every day emergencies. Here are ways you can communicate:
- Keep your phones charged in case the power goes out and you need to use your phone.
- Leave a rescue sticker in the front window of your home to let rescue workers know there are pets inside.
- If you need to evacuate, write ‘EVACUATED’ across your stickers so rescue workers try to find your pet.
Have you noticed your dog or cat scratching their ears, chewing at their tail or licking their paws more than they normally do lately? Yep, it is allergy season and for some pets, this is the start of the season of misery. All climates have allergens and they are usually harmless to most pets, but for dogs with allergies, their bodies have a severe reaction to them.
Humans’ allergies typically engage the respiratory system, but dogs and cats allergies normally present as skin irritations or inflammations, otherwise known as allergic dermatitis. The skin can become dry and itchy. Hot spots can develop when an uncomfortable pet continues to scratch and bite at their skin. They become red, sensitive to touch, the hair can become very thin or fall out all together and open soars can develop. Allergens can be problematic when ingested, inhaled or contact a dog’s skin. Dogs and cats can sometimes cough, sneeze, and have watery eyes and a runny nose very much like a small child with a cold.
Does your dog or cat scratch at their ears, shake their head a lot of have hair thinning around the ears? Well there is usually a reason. The ears can become problematic for a pet with allergies. The ear canal (more often in dogs than cats) can become itchy, inflamed or develop a yeast or bacterial infection. Some pet owners complain that their pet/s have generalized redness around the eyes, nose, chin and paws.
Dogs and cats share many of the same allergy symptoms:
- Excessive scratching
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Itchy back or base of tail
- Paw chewing/swollen paws
- Itchy, sometimes infected ears
- Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
- Sneezing and coughing