1 MAKE SURE YOUR DOG WEARS A COLLAR
Depending on your location, your dog may be legally required to wear a collar. There are a number of reasons for this, and all of them are important:
- If a dog wears a collar it will not be identified as homeless. People will know that your dog has an owner, and should he/she run out on his or her own, anyone who finds your dog will know to look for you.
- A collar provides a way for a person to restrain your dog. If your four-legged friend is making a break for it or is perhaps showing too much interest in another dog, the animal can be gently held in place until you get there.
- By putting a collar on your dog you’ll have somewhere to print an address should your pet become lost.
2 AVOID THE HEAT
Some breeds are more sensitive to the heat than others, but if any dog cannot regulate its temperature it can become disorientated and even pass out. If the weather is particularly hot, ensure that your dog gets plenty of shade and water.
If he or she seems to be panting badly, take him/her into the shade to catch their breath. There are also pet sun blocks available on the market which can protect against sunburn, as a dog’s coat will not reflect all harmless rays from the sun.
3 GET YOUR DOG CHIPPED
This is a no brainer, and while it might cost a little, having your dog chipped will keep them safe and give you real piece of mind. It’s a fairly simple process and one which is relatively painless for the animal.
With a tiny microchip placed under the skin, anyone who finds your dog can have him/her scanned by a vet, and your contact details will then be presented. Proof of ownership is an important thing, even more so when a beautiful dog is a prime target for a thief.
4 NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN YOUR CAR
We’ve already mentioned that your dog can overheat easily, and this is especially true when it comes to being left in a car unattended. Even on cooler days, a car can act as a greenhouse as the sun’s rays pierce the windows heating up anything inside. If you must leave your dog unattended in your car, you have to leave a window open, but ideally you shouldn’t leave your dog in a car at all.
5 USE A LEASH
Leash control is a key component of dog ownership. This doesn’t mean that your dog should always be on a leash, but it is about choosing the right time to keep them on their leash.
More than this, it’s a way to keep your dog safe and show him or her that you are in charge – dogs are amazing animals, but if they believe they’re the boss, you could be in for a difficult battles of wills.
Some dogs have better road sense than others, but even those which are trained to stick to a pavement can randomly walk onto a busy street and be hit by a car.
A leash minimizes this issue, and will also allow you to keep your dog away from broken glass on the ground or from other dogs who are less than friendly.
6 BE CAREFUL NEAR WATER
Sure, some breeds such as retrievers love the water and have even been bred to be good swimmers, complete with webbed toes! But no matter how strong a swimmer your dog is, you still need to be vigilant. Fast moving water is a definite no-go.
A river can sweep away even the strongest – dog or human. But even when the water is still, there can be reeds or underwater currents which can pull an animal down into the depths. Try to use good judgement.
If other dogs are happily playing and the water isn’t too deep, then it could be okay, but always keep in mind how dangerous such things can be. Respect the water, and it will respect you.
7 TRAIN FOR RECALL
By training your dog with voice commands, you can better control him/her, especially in difficult situations.
Some dogs are prone to wander away when they are off their leashes, but by training them to return to their owners via a command, they can be kept safe by being warded away from dangerous or difficult circumstances.
If your dog does ever wander out of sight, by shouting a command your pet should come running back to you if properly trained.
8 KEEP BUGS AT BAY
Your dog will be susceptible to parasites and other nasty bugs such as fleas. These can make your pet’s and your life miserable. In the worst case scenario they can seriously affect the health of your dog, so keeping bugs at bay should be a priority.
Your first port of call should be a vet. He or she will identify any issues and provide various solutions. Second of all, you should take preventative steps. Ensuring your animal is clean and bathed regularly will help, and purchasing pet-friendly insect repellant will also contribute to warding off these tiny critters.
9 DON’T SHARE YOUR FOOD
Look at those big brown (or blue) eyes. It’s hard to resist your dog when he or she is sitting at your feet as you eat your dinner, but human food is not fit for dogs! In fact, by giving in and feeding your pet inappropriate foods, you can seriously impact their health.
Human food can cause obesity which increases the chances of your dog developing a range of debilitating illnesses including heart disease, joint pain, diabetes and pancreatitis.
10 SECURE YOUR GARDEN
Dogs are expert jumpers, diggers, and all round escape artists. It’s great if you have a garden for your dog to play in, but you still have to take precautions that they don’t do a Steve McQueen and commit a great escape.
To stop this from happening ensure that your garden is fenced off correctly and that your dog cannot easily jump out of the garden or over a gate.