It’s summer! That means hot sun (hopefully!), ice creams (definitely!) and day trips out with the dog. We all know to remember water and sun cream for ourselves when going on a walk, but what about our dogs? What should we pack for them when we are going out for the day?
Collar and Lead
It might sound basic, but don’t forget to bring a collar and lead for your dog. Dogs are legally required to wear a collar when in public in the UK, and even if your dog has excellent recall, there are still some situations where you should keep them on a lead – for example, around livestock, or in areas where it is signposted. Always follow the local rules, even if you feel your dog would be fine.
That collar should also have an ID tag on it. This is a legal requirement (even if your dog is microchipped or tattooed) but also a very sensible idea, especially if you are going to a new place. It takes little time for someone to find your dog’s tag and call your mobile phone, compared to the time taken to bring your dog to a vet or dog warden and have them scan the chip and check the database.
The ID tag should include:
- Your name
- Your address, including the postcode
You do not legally have to put a telephone number on your dog’s ID tag, but it is usually a good idea. You do not have to put your dog’s name on the tag.
If your dog prefers not to walk on a collar (such as flat-faced dogs like pugs or bulldogs) you can instead attach their lead to a harness. However, legally they should also be wearing a collar with their tag attached.
It’s important to clean up after your dog wherever you go, so don’t forget to take plenty of poo bags with you! These should always be disposed of in a bin, even if the label says that they are biodegradable – many of these bags need ultraviolet light (from sunlight) to degrade, so throwing them in a dark ditch or under a hedgerow is not good enough. Once again, this is not just common courtesy, but also a legal requirement, so don’t skimp on cleaning up!
If the place you are walking does not have a dog poo bin, then you will need to take them with you until you can find a suitable place to dispose of them. You may wish to pack a larger bin bag or a couple of carrier bags to contain them!
I don’t think many of us leave home without our phones these days, but even if you are trying to get away from the screens for a day, it’s best to take your mobile with you anyway. Aside from your personal safety, if your dog is injured then a phone allows you to call a vet straight away for advice.
It’s always important to take plenty of water with you when you take your dog out. On average, dogs will drink 25-50ml of water per kilogram of body weight per day – so a 30kg Labrador can easily drink one and a half litres of water per day. This amount will go up if your dog is exercising, as they will pant to cool themselves and lose extra water.
You may wish to bring something for your dog to eat, especially if they are very active or you will be out during their normal mealtime. Treats may be more appealing and have a higher energy content, but they are richer and saltier, too. If your dog usually has kibble as part of their diet, then it may be better to bring a small portion of this.
As with humans, it is not a good idea to exercise dogs soon after eating, so if you feed the kibble all in one go then make sure they have a rest for at least 30-60 minutes afterwards. Small pieces spread out over a walk is usually fine, however!
A responsible dog owner should always know where their towel is. Towels have many uses – they can dry off dogs who get wet, act as a blanket (when dry) for cold dogs, or even work as a stretcher in an emergency.
Always make sure that your dog’s towel is large enough for them to lay out on. This means it should be large enough both to dry them and to carry them on if they are injured or sick.
First Aid Kits
Most dog injuries happen whilst out and about, so it’s best to be prepared. However, first aid like this is not a substitute for seeing a vet, so always get your dog checked out if they have been injured.
Your first aid kit should contain:
- Dressings, Tape and Bandage to cover up any smaller wounds until you can reach a vet. Depending on the kind of bandage, you may also need a pair of bandage scissors (which are slightly curved, with a blunt end)
- Gloves made of latex, or similar, to keep your hands clean whilst seeing to your dog’s wounds.
- Antiseptic, in the form of wipes or liquid, is useful for cleaning wounds before bandaging.
- Gauze Swabs can be used for cleaning, or to apply pressure to a bleeding wound.
- Tweezers are useful for removing debris from wounds.
- Honey or sugar gel is useful for dogs who are prone to overexercise and experience low blood sugar.
- Tick hook to remove any ticks.
- Foil blanket for dogs who become cold, or who are seriously injured or unwell and go into shock.
Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy spending time in the fresh air with your dog. A few quick preparations before you go will help you and your dog to enjoy this time without worry and allows you to be prepared should something unexpected happen.
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