March 30th is Take a Walk in the Park Day, and hopefully the weather in your area has you chomping at the bit to participate. And what better way to kick off the spring season than a lovely stroll? Well, by having your furry friend join you, of course!
As you choose to walk your pet in the great outdoors this spring, keep in mind some basic dog walking etiquette so that everyone’s time outside is as enjoyable as yours.
Mind Your Pooch
It is very important to keep your pet in control while enjoying your stroll. Leash laws are an important part of good dog walking etiquette, and for good reason. Be sure your pet is properly fitted with a sturdy leash and collar to keep him or her safe. Leash laws are important because:
Dogs don’t always get along – It is impossible to keep your dog out of the personal space of other animals and dogs without a leash. While your pet may be friendly, it does not mean that everyone else’s dog is happy about meeting other pets. A good, sturdy six-foot lead will help you to rein in your bouncing buddy when needed.
Not everyone is a dog person – Happy dogs often are excited to see other people. Not everyone is a dog person (Gasp! We know!?!), and many people appreciate you keeping your dog to yourself. Leashes can also help you to discourage inappropriate, although happy, behaviors such as jumping and licking.
Leashes prevent accidents – You never know when you might need an extra hand on your dog. A running squirrel in the road or a passing bike can easily turn into an emergency. If you choose to use a Flexi-lead type leash, remember that it can be difficult to control your pet when the length is let out. Also double check that your leash is rated for a dog of your pet’s size.
The Poop on Dog Walking
We know, we know… no one likes carrying that baggy of doggy doo during their walk. Picking up after your pet, however, is one of the golden rules of dog walking etiquette, and for good reason:
- Dog feces smell
- No one likes to unexpectedly step in a pile of dog poop, not even dog lovers
- Pet waste, if not picked up, can wash into our waterways
- Poop attracts flies and other unsavory guests
- The more diligent folks are about picking up after their pets, the more places will be tolerant of doggy visitors
Perhaps the most important reason for picking up after your pet, however, is for health. Feces in the environment can certainly spread parasites and pathogens to other pets who are enjoying their stroll in the sunshine. Plus, even more scary is the fact that many of the diseases contained in pet feces are zoonotic, meaning that people can contract them.
Besides picking up promptly after your pet, be sure that you are bringing a stool sample into your vet’s office at least once or twice yearly, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Check your VitusVet app to see when your pet’s last fecal examination was and be sure your pet is up to date. These important exams allow your pet’s doctor to screen for parasites and treat them if needed.
Year round parasite prevention is also an important part of stopping disease spread. It protects your pets as well as other people and animals around them.
So with your dog walking etiquette in mind, your friends at VitusVet encourage you to get out there and enjoy the spring weather. Having fun in the outdoors with your four-legged companion can’t be beat!