Walking your pets can be a rewarding experience for both you and your furry family members. Exercise, fresh air, and spending quality time together are just some of the benefits of leashed walking with your pet. The team at Town & Country Animal Hospital have put together some pet leash safety tips to keep your companions safe and your walks enjoyable.

Why Leashes are Important

Not only is keeping your dog on a leash a requirement in some areas, it’s also an important part of keeping your pet safe while outside of the home. Leashing your pet is a courtesy and cautionary action for those around you. While your pet may be well-behaved or trained, you don’t know if the dog approaching you is.

Even a well-trained dog may have moments of distraction or temptation that can cause them to run off or interact with other animals or people. Dogs may try to chase after bikes, people, or other animals, and a securely fastened leash can prevent this. Plus, it protects them from running into the street or getting separated from you.

Consider a Harness

The most important aspect of pet leash safety is making sure the leash is connected to something comfortable for your pet. If your dog gets excited or anxious easily, and pulls a lot while walking, you may want to consider using a harness instead. Simply connecting their leash to their collar can cause discomfort or distress in your dog. Too much pressure or pulling on the collar can be painful or even harmful to your pet.

Yanking, jerking, or pulling on your dog while they are leashed by the collar (or even a harness) can be harmful to your dog, especially for puppies and senior dogs. Taking the time and patience to train your dog to walk calmly on a leash has many benefits—not only for their safety, but also for your peace of mind.

Leash Safety Basics

It’s important to keep these pet leash safety tips in mind so you and your pet can have a fun and safe experience:

  • Size Matters: Choose a leash that fits the size of your dog. You want the leash to allow for enough space so your dog can walk comfortably, but is close enough in case of an emergency. Smaller dogs can use thinner leashes, while bigger dogs may need thicker leashes. You will also want to make sure the hardware on the leash is the correct size for your pet’s harness.
  • Avoid Whiplash: Retractable leashes that pull the pet back in while on the line are not recommended. This could cause whiplash and injure your pet.
  • Safe and Secure: Always check that your pet’s harness and leash are securely fastened before starting your walk. If the material is loosened or frayed, replace the leash or harness immediately. Frayed leashes could lead to the material breaking and your pet getting away from your grip.
  • Night Walking Safety: If you and your furry companion prefer night and evening walks, consider purchasing a leash or harness with reflective material. You can also buy colorful lights to clip on to their collar, harness, or leash to make you and your pet more visible to others in the dark.
  • Consider Leash Etiquette: Always bring a doggy bag with you on walks, and always clean up after your pet. Ask other owners before approaching another dog, and always keep your pet leashed in areas that require it.
From pet leash safety to wellness exams, the team at Town & Country Animal Hospital is here for you and your pets. For more pet health and safety tips call us at (256) 232-0698.