At some point or another, most dog owners have gotten injured while walking their dog. Now, how does this normally happen? Dog owners are pulled too hard and get yanked by their dog and can lose their footing and fall. Not to mention, your dog will need to be walked regardless of how bad the weather is outside. Thankfully, we have some tips that can help you stay safe and injury-free while walking your furry friend regardless of hazards, the weather and other dogs.

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1. Use a leash that will keep you from being pulled

Being yanked while holding a leash can cause strain and injury. About 16,000 people are injured each year by a dog pulling on their leash. This injury tends to pinpoint the shoulders and back. Think about it. If your dog is big or stocky, you may find yourself being dragged and putting up resistance. This can lead to pressure on your upper body, which can cause injury or discomfort. What kind of leash do we recommend? We recommend that you use a short, sturdy leash over a retractable leash so that you can have more control.

2. Be visible at night

When you’re walking your dog at night, it can be easy to stumble over the sidewalk or curb. We recommend that you use a flashlight while walking your dog at night for a variety of reasons. This will help you see where you’re walking more clearly, spot any animals that could be a threat and help others see you. There are also dog products, such as harnesses and jackets, that are reflective. Reflective gear significantly improves your visibility to drivers at night.

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3. Don’t ride your bike while walking your dog

We mentioned having control earlier by using a short, sturdy leash. If you want to bike while having your dog jog alongside you, you lose much of this control. For example, your dog may spot something and pull excitedly in another direction. You will also have to control your bike, watch your dog and watch your general surroundings (cars, other bikes, people, animals) at the same time. This sounds like a recipe for disaster.

4. Be careful when approaching other dogs

No matter how friendly another dog looks, be aware that they could react negatively and cause injury to you or your dog. If you would like to interact with another owner and their dog, always ask before petting their dog. Ask if their dog is friendly. Watch the body language of the other dog and take note if they are backing away, growling or barking.

5. Wear proper dog-walking attire

Make sure that your footwear is comfortable, especially if you plan on going on a long walk. Your shoes should be fit properly and be suitable for walking to avoid foot injury.

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6. Prepare for the elements

During the winter or during heavy rain, there are additional hazards to consider. Wear gloves to keep your hands warm and your grip secure on your dog’s leash. Make sure that you can see what’s ahead of you with a hooded raincoat or umbrella when it is raining or snowing. If the pavement is slippery choose footwear that gives you stability, in case your dog pulls on their leash or suddenly goes in another direction, to prevent falls.

Overall, there are many ways that you can become injured while walking your dog. Thankfully, there are also many ways to prevent these injuries from happening. Take action and make sure that you have proper dog-walking equipment, attire and that you are always aware of your surroundings.