By Zara M.
All a dog owner wants is to be able to provide for their dog and keep them safe and happy. If you are a new dog owner you may want to know how to keep your dog safe in a variety of different situations. This article will provide you with a simple guide to dog safety so that you can relax and enjoy spending time with your new pet.
In this article we will discuss the following:
- How to keep your dog safe from toxins
- How to prevent your dog from biting people
- How to prevent dog fights
- How to keep your dog safe in the summer
How To Keep Your Dog Safe From Toxins
One of the most common ways a dog is exposed to danger is through contact or consumption of toxins, such as toxic foods or household products. There are so many human foods and products that can harm your pet dog that it is essential to be aware of what your dog is doing or eating.
It may be impossible for you to know all of the things your dog might potentially come across that are poisonous or harmful to them. Common sense goes a long way of course, but essentially the best thing you can do is to ensure that your dog is supervised wherever possible, be able to recognize the signs that your dog is unwell, and know how to react.
A dog that has come into contact with a poisonous plant, toxic ingredients in food or harmful chemicals in household products will start to show signs of adverse reactions to those substances.
Here is a short list of the most common signs of toxic poisoning in dogs:
- Vomiting & Diarrhea
- Lack of appetite or thirst
- Excess thirst and/or urination
- Lethargy or loss of interest in activity
- Uncoordinated gait or collapse
- Swelling, hives, itching, rash
- Difficulty breathing
If you witness any of the above symptoms, or if you notice anything unusual for your dog, you should always call your veterinarian for advice, and be ready to answer questions about your dog.
Your vet may want to know what your dog has come into contact with or eaten, how much, and how long ago. They may also ask about your pet’s age, breed, size, weight, health and symptoms.
If in doubt you can take your dog into a veterinary clinic to be checked by a professional, even if only to put your mind at ease. A prompt response is what can save dogs’ lives.
Always remember, when you leave your dog alone, a dog crate is always a good idea.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Biting People
It is extremely important to ensure that your dog is well socialized and receives basic training from a young age. This is what will teach your dog how to behave well around people. Your dog should learn basic food manners, a range of simple commands, and never to bite a human, even during play!
It is natural for dogs to bite each other during play, and the only reason they are able to do this without hurting each other or having a fight break out is that they learnt something called “bite inhibition” while they were still part of a litter of puppies.
Puppies learn to inhibit their biting during play in order to keep other puppies interested in interacting with them. If they bite too hard, then this results in the recipient puppy yelping and then temporarily stopping the game. Puppies quickly learn to only bite softly at other dogs if they want them to continue to engage with them.
Puppies that are taken away from a litter too early or who were separated from other pups due to a puppy farming situation will not have had the opportunity to learn these essential life skills, and this can make them dangerous, as they are more likely to harm a person if they bite without any bite inhibition. This can be lethal if they bite a child in excitement or unintentionally.
If your puppy has poor bite inhibition it is imperative to work on training them to avoid touching human skin with their teeth. This includes teaching them how to gently accept treats from your hand so that they never “accidentally” take a child’s finger off when a treat is offered to them.
How To Prevent Dog Fights
Body language and behavior is a big deal in the dog world, and if your dog hasn’t learnt basic canine etiquette from an early age, other dogs will not be so forgiving or tolerant of their rude behavior as he grows out of puppyhood and into adolescence and adulthood.
The only way to teach your dog how to behave around other dogs is to expose them to dogs of all ages from an early age under supervised conditions, so that they can learn through trial and error what is acceptable behavior to other dogs.
You can also focus on training your dog to focus his attention mainly on you and your family. If you have a family dog that is more interested in playing and spending time with you and your family, they are much less likely to be getting into trouble with other dogs or people during walks.
If you have a dog that does not seem to get along with other dogs or is reactive, then it is your responsibility to ensure that they are not put in positions that will make them feel insecure and need to react. You should make sure that you have full control over your dog in public places, either by having them on a lead or engaging with them one-to-one with games, treats and training aids on walks.
You can also make other people aware that your dog is reactive or uncomfortable around children or other dogs, so that they will keep their children or dogs away from yours when they are on the lead.
The best way to prevent a dogfight is to be fully aware of your dog’s and other dogs’ body language. Dogs display a wide variety of subtle signals in order to communicate with other dogs, and knowing their language can really help you to predict seemingly unpredictable dog behavior.
How To Keep Your Dog Safe In The Summer
Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the weather and parks with your dog, but it can also be a time of great stress for many dog owners.
Along with the hot weather comes fleas, ticks, stinging insects, and grass seeds. Not to mention picnics, BBQs, children running around, bicycles and people on roller skates. All of these things and more can pose hazards to dogs, so it is more important than ever to ensure that you are being super vigilant and have your dog under full control.
When the weather is hot you should avoid taking your dog out at midday when the sun is at its highest as this will expose your dog to getting burnt paws from hot pavements, and sunburn and heatstroke. Making use of cooler mornings and evenings is best, as the parks and beaches will also be less crowded for your dog, and therefore less stressful for you to navigate.
When walking your dog in the summer you should always bring a bottle of water and a bowl to keep your dog hydrated. Try to walk in shaded spots with woodlands, and keep strenuous exercise to a minimum to avoid your dog overheating.
Other things you can do to help keep your dog safe during the summer include keeping up to date with flea and tick treatments, and checking your dog’s coat regularly, train your dog to “leave it” or “drop it” so that if he does come across the leftovers from a BBQ or picnic he is less likely to ingest cooked chicken bones or other foods that are unhealthy or dangerous for dogs. You should also look into getting sunscreen for your dog.
Hopefully this article has given you some useful starting points to help you keep your dog safe. Don’t forget to ensure that your dog is microchipped in case he gets lost or stolen. A dog tag with your address and phone number is also important and may help a stranger get your dog back to you sooner if your dog runs off on a walk.