When it comes to health and dog walking advice, it’s usually aimed at keeping your dog safe. After all, there are lots of things to bear in mind. You’ll need to protect their feet from harsh terrain or floors that are too hot or cold. You’ll need to keep them hydrated and make sure they avoid toxins such as certain plants or drinking from lakes containing blue algae.
You will also need to ensure you’re not walking them further than they can handle for their age, size, and breed. Then there are fleas, ticks, and illnesses such as Alabama Rot which can be picked up.
However, there are things you should bear in mind when it comes to your own health when you’re dog walking too. Here are a few ideas.
Wear the right footwear
If you and your dog like to go on long hikes, it makes sense to invest in good footwear. Go with something that will support the arches of your feet, protect the soles and generally feel comfortable when you’re on long walks. Walking boots are a great option and will prevent you from wearing out countless pairs of other shoes since they’ll last much longer than the average pair of sneakers.
If you’re going through forests, on mountain paths, through fields and more then a pair of flip flops won’t cut it. If you’re going through boggy or wet areas then wellies can be the best option but do spend a little time considering your footwear.
Wear the right clothing
As well as the right footwear, you need the right clothes on too. If it’s a freezing cold day then you’ll want to ensure you wrap up warm. As well as putting your dog’s coat on him to keep him warm, make sure you have something sufficient for yourself.
You’ll know not to walk your dog during very warm weather, but even when it’s mild out you can quickly warm up when you’re out walking even if the temperature isn’t that high.
Long, light layers will keep you cool while protecting you from things like bramble scratches, nettles, and insects.
If you’re going to be walking at night, you need to make sure you can be seen. Even if you’re only using footpaths, it’s worth bearing this in mind as even being hit by a cyclist can be very dangerous.
Wear a high visibility vest or something with reflectors on. You can get flashing necklaces, as well as light up collars to put on your dog. If you’re walking at the side of the road and a car doesn’t see you and mounts the pavement, it could lead to disaster.
While unlikely, it makes sense and is good practice to pop on something that gives you visibility when you’re walking in the evenings.
As a good dog owner, you’ll have brought some water with you for your dog if it’s a long walk or a warm day. But have you thought about yourself? Getting dehydrated is really dangerous, and can happen quicker than you think especially in the spring or summer and it’s a challenging walk involving hilly areas.
Bring a bottle in your bag, you could go with a brand like Hint water for something naturally sweet and refreshing. Either way, keeping your fluid levels topped up is essential, just as much for you like your dog.
Bring your phone
No one wants to think about an emergency happening when they’re going about their daily lives. But you just never know, it could be anything from your dog escaping to being attacked by another dog, you falling and injuring yourself or something else entirely.
Having your phone with you at least gives you the chance to call for help. If you’re out walking in more remote areas then it could be a lifesaver. You might enjoy dog walking as it’s a chance to disconnect, but pick up your phone and bring it with you instead of leaving it at home. Even if you have it switched off, having it there if you need it could come in really useful.
Long walks with your dog benefit your health as well as your pet’s. But it’s important to keep health and safety in mind, particularly if you like to walk off the beaten track. Don’t just think of your dog’s safety, remember yours as well.
Had you given much thought to your health and safety when walking your dog?