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Posted on 01-09-2017

January is Walk Your Pet Month. So we thought it would be the perfect time to talk about just that – walking your pet. In this three-part series, Dr. Ryan from the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America will discuss how to keep your pet safe on leash walks, what to do if your pet pulls while on leash, and even walking your cat!


Walking your dog has so many benefits. Not only is it great physical exercise, it also provides much needed mental stimulation for your dog and allows for you and your dog to have fun together. Here are a few things to consider before you take your dog out for a walk:

Temperature
If it is too cold for you to be comfortable, then it is too cold for your dog. Pets can get frost bite and hypothermia, so you will want to keep walks short when it is below 35 degrees. The same goes in the warmer months. Pets can get overheated easily, so monitor your dog for heat exhaustion when it’s over 75 degrees, and keep the walks short when temperatures climb.

Their Paws

The bottom of a dog’s paws are made up of fatty tissue, so they can withstand short romps in the snow or walking on warm surfaces. But, a dog’s paws can get burned on surfaces that are too hot, like concrete. They can also become painful and irritated from walking on ice melt.

Their Collar

Before you hook up the leash, be sure to check your dog’s collar. Is it the right fit? Collars can stretch over time and your dog’s weight may fluctuate, so you will want to frequently check to make sure the collar is not too loose or too tight. When the collar is fastened, slide two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. The collar should feel snug but not tight. And, you shouldn’t be able to slip the collar over your dog’s head. While you are at it, make sure the leash is in good condition too!

Now you are all set to head out the door. But one last thing – don’t forget to grab a bag for your dog’s waste. Contrary to what some people think, dog poop is not fertilizer! Toxic bacteria from a dog’s waste seeps into the soil, and wastewater treatment systems are not designed to filter dog waste. Ewww! So be sure to always pick up after your dog.

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.

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