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  • Linda

Dog Safety for pet owners and sitters

8 simple strategies can make all the difference in pet safety

This is being written just after the death of Queen Elizabeth so I thought I'd feature the photo of a Corgi. Corgis, as many know, were the Queen's favorite and she owned so many throughout the years so it just seemed to be a good fit for today's blog.

Any dog lover, whether someone is a Queen or just a regular person like the rest of us, wants to make sure their dogs are safe and want to reduce the chances of things going wrong. Safety is important.

Here are a few safety measures to keep in mind as you hang out with your dog or care for someone else's dog:

1. Keep a few current photos of the dog just in case the dog goes missing. This way you can quickly get the dog's photo in public online or on flyers or for e-mail delivery so others can recognize your furry friend and keep an eye out for him/her.

2. Get an extra dog tag that has an additional contact name other than yours (the owner's) on it. If someone finds your dog and can't reach you, they have an additional phone # to try. When I was pet sitting I suggested this to my pet sitting clients and told them that they could put my name/phone # on a tag if they'd like, as a back up. As a pet sitter, I had all their emergency contact information anyway so I would have a pretty good chance of getting in touch with them if others couldn't. And, if they still could not be contacted, then I would be able to retrieve the dog and keep him/her safe until the pet owners could be reached.

3. Make sure the home's doors and fences are securely latched so the dog doesn't get out. This is something always worth double-checking.

4. Make sure your neighbors know you and your dog so if he/she does get lost, you'll not only have your photo of the dog to show around, but the neighbors can help you look and keep vigilant. The dog would probably be more apt to run to a friendly neighborly face than an animal control officer or some other stranger.

5. It is fun to have alternate walking routes for dogs, but also have a routine walk that the dog knows like the back of his paw, so if he does get out and runs through the neighborhood, chances are he can just trot himself back home when he is done having fun and making you worried sick.

6. Use reflective gear on leashes and collars so your dog is easily seen, not only when out with you but if he should get out and night falls, he will be easily seen by drivers and you, if you are out looking for him.

7. Pet sitters, at your initial meet and greet visit with your clients take a photo of the dog ( and all the pets ) with the owner as well. That way you will have photos already in case something goes wrong even at your first pet visit. It is also good to have the owner's photo too because, after the initial meet and greet, most pet sitters don't regularly see the owners and may actually forget what the owner looks like, so it is good to have.

8. Car seat belts - you use them, why not your dog? Imagine someone plowing into your car and your dog who is happily in the back seat going from window to window to stick her nose out the window for the view and the breeze, gets thrown out the window, or into the front seat. A seat belt is a good idea, as well as one of those small car seats for smaller dogs.

I hope these few tips are helpful. They are all common sense, but sometimes as sitters and dog owners, we can become lax. Our dogs are so much like our kids that sometimes we think they know what to do, how to behave, and what the rules are, but if spooked or given the opportunity, they will just decide to dart out that front door, or front gate, after that longed-for squirrel, then the next thing you know they are lost, hit by a car, or endangered.

As the old wives tale dictates - better safe than sorry!


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