Summertime is the time for outdoor activities and having fun. However, being outdoors with your dog, or leaving him outside more, does lead to an increased chance that your dog could get hit by a car.
The following are five great tips to keep your dog from becoming another statistic and keep everydog’s summer safe and fun.
1. Summertime can be the time for some nasty weather. Always check on your fence after a storm to make sure it’s still intact.
Due to the storms, high winds can blow open gates or blow down sections of fences and dogs can escape. The most frequent emergency seen by veterinarians is a dog or cat being hit by a car. There are so many ways to prevent this tragedy. Always check fences and gates after high winds and storms before letting dogs in the yard. If there is a pet door and nobody is home during the day, install a padlock to the gate so it won’t blow open. If the fence is questionable during high winds, lock the pet door until the fence can be secured against high winds or until someone is home to monitor the dogs. Always be prepared for dogs to escape by having them microchipped by a veterinarian or local animal shelter. Microchips last forever and dogs will be returned when they are scanned.
2. Summertime is also the time for having friends over, bar-b-q’s, and get togethers. This means a lot of traffic coming in and out of the front door. No not car traffic, people traffic, so it is imperative to teach your dog not to run out the front door.
The best way to persuade your dog not to dash through doors is: do not let your dog make a successful dash through the door. Sounds obvious — but countless dog people and their guests have accidentally let the dog out the door, giving the dog a taste of freedom that can be exhilarating, but fraught with danger. The dog does not realize this, but he could get hit by a car, get in a fight with another animal, get lost and hurt, knock over children, not to mention alienate your neighbors. Even after dogs who get hurt after an escape fail to remember the connection between door-darting and pain when spotting a new chance to dash out the door.
3. Make sure your dog is always leashed, with the proper leash, when you take your dog for a walk. As I’ve mentioned before Bo was quite a Houdini in his youth, a true master of slipping the leash. When we got Logan, our Berner, his foster parents sent him along with a Martingale collar, something we had never heard of. This collar prevents dogs from slipping the leash when they pull back. Not usually an issue if Fluffy is 10lbs, but when she grows to be over 80lbs and turns into a ‘flight risk’, you’ll come to appreciate it.
Leash laws exist to protect not only your dog from tragic hit-by-car accidents but also to protect and safeguard all humans and other animals out and about in a civilized society. No dog, despite its level of training should be allowed to roam or to walk about freely when not in a fenced in yard, a home or a fenced dog park where dogs are permitted to run.
4. Having your dog spayed or neutered.
Dogs become sexually mature at around six months of age. Like a teenager first feeling the surge of hormones, an intact male dog has a strong, natural drive to seek out females. As you can imagine, it can be difficult to prevent an intact dog from escaping when his motivation to do so is very high.
Have your male dog neutered. Studies show that neutering will decrease sexual roaming in about 90 percent of cases. If an intact male has established a pattern of escaping, he may continue to do so even after he’s neutered, which is even more reason to have him neutered as soon as possible. Have your female dog spayed. If your intact female dog escapes your yard while she’s in heat, she’ll probably get pregnant (and she could be impregnated even if she stays in your yard).
5. Teach your dog to come.
Coming to you when called is one of the more important skills your dog can learn. Although we strive never to put our dogs in unsafe situations, the “come” (or “recall”) command can avert a car-dog collision, a deer chase, or other hazards.
In the event that your dog does get loose it is imperative that he has the proper tags and identification. There are multiple ID choices and now is the time to decide which one is right for your pet.
Take the time to call your vet and investigate the options NOW. Once your pet is lost it’s too late. Also make sure to have a good clear updated photo of your pet should you ever need it.