Nothing makes a pooch’s tail waggier than realising their human is taking out their lead, knowing it’s the best time of the day—walk time! While your pup is racing around the room in anticipation, it’s important for you to keep these tips in mind before taking them on a walk, whether it be your normal stroll around the neighbourhood or a new place to be discovered together.
While on an adventurous trail
If the weather is right and your pup can endure one of the many trails the UK has to offer, make sure you two are well prepared before heading on the trek. Just like you’ll get thirsty and hungry, your pup will too! Make sure to always bring a collapsible water bowl and some food for your dog, especially if your hike will be more than a couple hours long. Pack some doggie boots—not only are they paw-sitively stylish, but they’ll also prevent your pooch from getting their sensitive paws injured due to uneven ground and rocky paths. Make sure to stick to the designated trail, keep your dog on a lead in areas where there is wildlife and livestock present and bring along a first aid kit with bandages, an antiseptic and a tick removal tool. After your walk, be sure to check your pup for nicks and ticks, the latter especially after a forest walk.
In the grassy meadows
Walking amongst greenery is enjoyable for you and your pooch, though there are some precautions to be aware of. During the summer, if your pup has been running through tall grass, search their body for grass seeds. These small, pointy seeds can pierce your pooch, usually through their paws (between the toes), ears and eyes, though they can be found elsewhere. When spotted early, these seeds can be easily removed by a vet; if the grass seed has worked its way into your dog’s body, they can be harder to locate and remove, possibly leading to infections and inflammation. The best way to prevent this is to always check your pup after they’ve walked in long grass and to watch out for unusual behaviour following your walk (excessive licking or nibbling at their paws, scratching, a sudden weepy eye, etc.).
When strolling through the city
When walking your four-legged friend around the bustling city, always be aware of your surroundings—whether they be fellow humans, dogs, or oncoming traffic. On all walks, but especially city strolls, we recommend not checking your phone when with your pooch. Paying attention can make for a better bonding experience and will also make you aware of any potential threats or uncomfortable situations that your dog may encounter—including walking too close to traffic, allowing stranger-dogs to over-sniff your frightened pooch or your dog picking up something hazardous they’ve found off the ground. Avoid walking your pup on fertilised grass and always check the weather before leaving the house. Too hot? Even a short walk could lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke for your pup; dogs particularly at risk are senior dogs and short-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds, including pugs and bulldogs, among others. On hot days, head out either early in the morning or in the late evening when it’s cooler and the pavement isn’t as hot for your pooch’s sensitive paws. Too cold and icy out? With Autumn and Winter approaching it’s common for chemicals to be used to melt ice, so make sure your pooch is wearing protective booties and is kept warm with some gear.
When going for a dip
Some dogs can’t resist the water, and we can’t blame them! Just make sure you’re aware of the conditions before letting your pooch off their lead for a swim. If walking along the coast and nearby tidal currents appear strong, engage in a game of fetch on the sand with your dog instead. If the lake you were interested in walking your pup to has a blue or green coating on its surface, take a rain check and bring your dog somewhere else for their daily dose of stimulation. Those blue or green algal blooms are not made up of algae, like the name suggests, but are made up of bacteria that can be fatal after exposure.
Know your pup and always be prepared
Before any walk with your pup, it’s important to know what type of walker they are. Are they a puller? We recommend a harness for all the above-mentioned walks as these avoid tugging at your dog’s throat. Do they have good recall training and won’t approach leashed pups if let off their lead? It may be okay to release them—though you should check the place you’re headed, as some spots require dogs to always be on a lead. Also, find out if the area you’re walking contains wildlife or livestock; if it does, make sure to never let your pooch off their lead for the protection of all. For all walks, be sure to pack water, food (if the plan is to walk more than a couple hours), and baggies to clean up after your dog (not picking up your doggie’s doodoo is a major no-no, no matter where you’re walking). Even if your pup is already microchipped, make sure they’re wearing a collar with your updated contact information on it. Lastly, be prepared for walking an energised pup, especially if they’re fuelled by THE PACK!