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Dangers of the outdoors for dogs and how to combat them

Dogs get great enrichment from spending time outdoors, but it’s important to be aware of the dangers that could put your pet at risk.

Garden plants

Be aware of plants that are poisonous to dogs and consider omitting them from your garden. The Kennel Club has put together a list of poisonous plants that are best avoided. If your dog consumes any of these, then you will need to seek veterinary help as soon as possible. Grass seeds can get stuck in paws, ears or eyes and cause discomfort, so be careful with their usage or lay turf instead of seeds.

Slug pellets and pesticides

Chemical-based slug pellets and pesticides can poison or even kill a dog. Consider using organic alternatives or pet-proof slug traps.

Hot weather

Dogs can soon suffer from heat stroke if they are out in the sun for long periods on hot days. Try to keep your dog indoors during the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest and take your dog for walks in the early morning or evening when the weather is cooler. Ensure that your garden offers plenty of shade and provide an outdoor water source to keep your dog hydrated.

Stationary cars on hot days can be like an oven. It’s very dangerous to leave a dog in a hot car, even if the window is cracked open. Dogs die in hot cars so be sure never to leave your dog in one, even for short periods.

Cold weather

When the weather is cold, ice, snow and salt on your dog’s paws can cause discomfort. If your dog doesn’t mind wearing them, doggie booties can protect their paws. Alternatively, try to avoid particularly snowy or icy paths and wipe your dog’s paws when you get home to remove any salt.

Lakes, rivers and ponds

If your dog likes to swim, be sure to allow this in safe water sources. Rivers with strong currents can drown a dog and stagnant ponds can make them unwell. If your dog has never been for a swim before, allow them to explore a safe, shallow water source initially and never force your dog into the water if they don’t want to go in.

Other dogs

Whilst out on a walk, other dogs could be a danger to your dog if they’re not properly socialised. You don’t know how another dog will react to an encounter with your dog, so have your dog’s lead ready in case you need to put it on in the presence of other dogs to avoid unpleasant confrontations.

Sharp objects

Broken glass or sharp stones can easily cut into your dog’s paws, so stay vigilant when you are out and about with your dog.

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