by: Luci Moreno/Friendly Neighborhood YAP Writer
We are back again with another segment of Walking with Compassion. One of the first steps to achieving this is simply being mindful. Always pack the essentials when going out on a walk. Even if a walk is thirty minutes, ensure you have prepared a to-go bag with emergency supplies and essentials.
Make sure they have access to proper hydration. While walking my German Shepherd the other day, I noticed all the public water fountains on the trail were turned off. Many of these public facilities are turning off their water to discourage use during this current coronavirus climate. As temperatures rise signalling the beginning of summer, ensure your pet is properly hydrated and has access to water at all times. A great item to bring along your walk is a collapsible water bowl and a reusable water bottle.
A common essential for your walk is cleanup bags (poo bags). Don’t be that person who leaves their furry friend’s mess on the side of the trail, on a neighbor's lawn, or on the street for some unfortunate person to encounter. Take responsibility for your friend’s mess and take it with you. How about if you’re on a long hiking trek and there is no close trash bin? Well, consider these alternatives: double bag it to hide the stench, have your dog carry it in their compression saddle bag, or give them some time to do their smelly deed before you trek out.
Now more than ever is a good time to practice good hygiene. The surfaces outside your home are covered in unknown bacteria and other germs. Consider bringing along dog wipes to clean your dog's paws before entering the home. Another alternative is having them wear dog booties. As the weather heats up, you should never have your dog walk on concrete. In 2013, a study was conducted regarding the temperature difference between asphalt, soil, and grass (Surface Temperature Pattern). The study concluded that grass was able to absorb and evenly disperse the most sunlight allowing it to stay cooler. Asphalt and concrete reflected it, allowing it to rapidly heat up and retain that heat until sundown. With this in mind, we advise you to walk your dog using dog shoes, or walk them only on grass. Hot concrete and asphalt can cause summer burns, blisters, and other skin issues on their sensitive paws. These injuries can be extremely painful for your pup and make their daily walk very uncomfortable.
Finally, just create a routine. Routine will allow you to establish some sense of control and normalcy in times of uncertainty. Create a walking schedule. Explore that secluded trail by your home, or take them for a leisurely walk around your neighborhood. Your furry friend will enjoy those moments of solace with you, and you may find yourself cherishing them as well.
With these small notes in mind, grab that leash and their favorite harness and go forth on that walk.
We will cover how to understand your dog’s body language throughout your walk in the upcoming article. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletters to stay up to date!