Spring has officially arrived and for many of us dog owners, this means more walks in the countryside with our beloved pooches. The countryside may be beautiful but it is also full of dangers that you need to be aware of to ensure both you and your dog are kept safe.
A big danger for your dog’s safety is water, whether that be ponds, streams, waterfalls, rivers or even the sea. We have put together some top tips on making sure you and your dog are safe when near water on your walks.
Avoid Fishing Hot Spots
Of course, where there is water, there is quite often people fishing. If you know a particular spot is popular with fishermen, try to avoid it with your dog. There may be fishing hooks lying around in the grass that can cause significant injury to your dog. Fishing wire can also be a hazard as your dog may not be able to see it, and this can lead to strangulation.
Keep vaccines up to date
You should be doing this anyway – it is part of being a responsible dog owner, but if you are planning to take your dog anywhere near water they should always be fully up to date with their vaccinations. Water is quite often hosting all kinds of infectious diseases and parasites.
Be cautious of what’s below the surface of the water
A body of water may look safe from the surface, but you always need to consider what may be below the surface. There could be many dangers for your dog including broken glass, sharp stones and even pieces of plastic or wire that they could get their paws caught on.
Stay away from blue-green algae
ALWAYS avoid blue-green algae. It is highly toxic and in most cases, will lead to your dog being extremely unwell and sadly even death. A lot of countryside areas will have signs up if there is any algae spotted, but it is really important that you follow the guidance and are aware of the dangers. We would also recommend washing your dog after they have been swimming in any outdoor bodies of water, just incase they have picked some up on their coat.
Train your dog in recall
Before letting your dog off a lead in any environment, you need to teach them good recall skills. This is especially important when they are in water, as sometimes, you just won’t be able to reach them yourselves without going for an unwanted swim!
Consider your dog’s toys
If you are going to be taking any toys for your dog to play with in the water, you need to make sure that they will float and are easily visible to both you and your dog. You should also make sure that the toy is a safe size for your dog (this means they aren’t going to accidentally swallow it) and that they can hold it in their mouth whilst swimming or running.
Be vigilant at all times
If you are taking your dog near any type of water, you need to be extra vigilant at all times. Be aware of your surroundings, who is around you, what restrictions are in place and most importantly, what your dog is doing. Do not attempt to enter any private areas. Always make sure you are able to retrieve your dog if they get a little out of their comfort zone.