Dogs love to go on walks! A fact that’s evidenced by the way most dogs go wild at the sight of their leash. And since walks are great exercise for humans, too, it’s a win-win situation! For safety reasons it’s important to be properly prepared when taking your dog(s) out for a walk. Here’s a list of items that are needed when you take your dog for a walk.
Leash. In general, your dog needs to be a leash any time he or she is not on your own property or confined in a carrier. There are very few places that allow dogs to be “off-leash”, and those places will be clearly marked.
Disposable bag. Aka, the poop bag. Always, always bring a poop bag with you! It’s better to have one and not need one than to need one and not have one.
To make it more convenient, store a bag or two with the leash. I can’t stress enough the importance of picking up after your dog- there’s nothing worse than walking along a beautiful scenic trail and almost stepping in a big pile of pooh. Yes, you have to bring the bag of your dog’s poop home with you, but that’s part of the responsibility of having a dog.
Water. Bring enough water for you and your dog(s), especially if it’s a hot day. It’s a good idea to have a water bottle that comes with a shoulder or waist strap so that both of your hands are free. Pet supply stores sell collapsible bowls for dogs. These bowls can be scrunched down small enough to fit into a backpack or even into a pocket.
Cell phone. Most people would agree that it’s a good idea to have a cell phone with you at all times, but it’s especially important if you’re alone with your dog(s) away from home. If something should happen, you would be able to call for help. If you don’t have a cell phone, let someone know where you’re going and the approximate time that you’ll be back.
Bright colored or reflective clothes. This is especially important if you’re walking in the dark and/or along roadways. In the winter, when it gets dark early, many people find themselves walking their dogs in the dark. Please wear reflective clothing! Remember, oncoming traffic needs to see you and your dog(s)! Even in broad daylight you’ll want to be highly noticeable by wearing bright colors.
Bright colored mesh vests with reflective stripes are one of the smartest things people can buy for dog walking. The mesh is light enough to wear in the summer, and the vests have Velcro expanders so that they’ll fit over a winter jacket in the cold weather. The bright color works for the day and the reflective strips work at night.
Bright colored reflective collars and leashes are a smart buy for your dog(s).
Doggy jacket and booties for cold climates. A lot of people think that doggie jackets are a silly item bought by even sillier people for spoiled dogs. In fact, dogs instinctively seek shelter during cold weather. Having them out in the cold without protection isn’t natural for them. They still need their exercise, but dogs that are not indigenous to cold climates need jackets. Look for a doggie jacket in a bright color with reflective stripes.
Doggie booties are essential to protect the dog’s pads (bottom of the paws). The salt used on the roads will crack dog’s pads to the point of bleeding. This is very painful for the dogs. If you don’t have booties for your dog(s) or the booties fall off all the time, wipe your dog’s pads with a warm, wet (no soap) washcloth as soon as the dog comes in from the walk.
Pepper spray. If it’s legal in your state, and you’re afraid of other dogs, wild animals, or even dangerous people, bring pepper spray with you. Chances are you’ll never need to use it, but it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Dog walking is a fun, healthy, and enjoyable way to bond with your dog! Please make sure you keep it that way by being properly prepared.