7 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe from Traffic
Spring is upon us — and if you’ve got a dog, you know this the season for playing fetch, going for walks, and enjoying the great outdoors. But responsibility is part of dog guardianship, too. Sadly, around 1.2 million dogs are fatally struck by cars each year in the United States alone — and many of those tragedies were preventable. Here are a few tips for keeping your dog safe from traffic.
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Love the leash
Put your dog on a leash before you take her outside. Make sure both the leash and collar are in good condition, and replace anything that’s showing signs of wear and tear.
If you’re using a retractable leash, lock it at a set length when approaching roadways. That way, even if your dog lurches towards danger, he’ll stop short of hurting himself.
If your dog is a regular Houdini, look into getting a harness or a Martingale collar. Martingale collars tighten slightly when the dog tugs, but not enough to cause choking — just enough to make it tougher to wriggle loose.
Teach traffic safety
When walking your dog, teach him to sit each time you come to a curb. Reinforce this with a treat, and create a command for proceeding when it’s safe to walk into the roadway. According to the Wag dog walking service, this teaches dogs that streets and sidewalks are spaces where different rules apply.
If your dog loves chasing a disc, stick, or tennis ball, she can easily get tunnel vision and dart into oncoming traffic. Protect your pup by throwing toys away from the road. If you have guests or kids that want in on the fun, let them know about this important rule.
Drivers have a tough time seeing during dusk and dawn. Safeguard yourself and your pet by wearing reflective clothes and accessories. A reflective or LED-illuminated leash and collar can give your dog some much-needed visibility during early morning and evening walks.
Secure the premises
If your local ordinances allow it, get a fence. But even if you have a fence, still be vigilant. Before turning your dog loose in a fenced-in back yard, check to make sure the fence hasn’t been damaged and that all gates are closed.
Don’t leave your dog outside unattended. Even if you have a fence, your dog may find a way to climb over it, a strong gust of wind could open the gate, or your dog could even burrow under the fence and wind up in danger.
Although it may seem like a safe place, it’s critical to be alert when backing out of your driveway. Be sure to make full use your mirrors and backup camera to ensure no two-legged or four-legged pedestrians get hit by your car. If you’re expecting guests to pull up or leave soon, keep your dog in a secure location where he can’t run into the path of a car.
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Kimiko Kidd is a native Daytonian. She graduated from Wright State University with degrees in environmental science and sociology. She loves her trusty old Honda Civic, but dreams of owning a 1974 Ford Falcon XB with a custom paint job and a vintage Kawasaki Z1000. In her free time, Kimiko can be found watercolor-painting, baking muffins, collecting rocks, playing old-school Nintendo games, writing her novel, sewing stuffed animals, and cosplaying as her favorite Mad Max characters. See more articles by Kimiko.