Professional dog walkers by their very nature need to ensure the safety of the dogs in their care. And while many of the obvious steps can be taken easily, sometimes hazards when dog walking can be less obvious.
Ranging from threats to the safety of the animals in your care to the risk of getting into trouble with the law, there are a few things to consider when exercising your canine clients.
The infamous disease struck the UK dog population harder than ever last year, infecting hundreds and killing at least 29. It appears that the number of cases will continue to rise in 2019 too.
At least 160 pooches have been confirmed to have contracted the bacterial infection believed to be picked up in mud since 2012. One family in Redruth, Cornwall have seen their pet dog die due to Alabama Rot this year already.
Vets4Pets have produced a map of all the confirmed cases of the disease with the south of England and the New Forest the most affected area.
There are a few steps to take to minimise the risk of your dog contracting the disease such as ensuring they are well washed after walking in muddy areas and ensuring you keep an eye out for any unusual sores, but often stopping the infection can be tricky.
Sometimes referred to as the UK’s ‘most poisonous plant’, Hemlock Water Dropwort is so potent that it could even kill a cow. There have been reports that the plant is being washed up on a number of Cornwall’s beaches, causing concern among the local dog walking community.
The unpleasant looking plant is more likely to affect grazing animals, although there have been confirmed cases whereby dogs have been infected.
The roots, which resemble a parsnip are the most deadly part of the plant although dog walkers should ensure that their pets and clients don’t eat any of the plant.
Often found growing on river beds or sea cliffs, the poison from the plant can lead to the vomiting of blood before attacking the central nervous system and eventually shutting down the person or dog’s body.
Sadly there are people out there who for one reason or another, go out of there way to cause harm. A recent case in Scotland highlighted the lengths some people will go to harm animals.
In the Edinburgh suburb of Colinton Dell a number of sausages have been discovered stuffed with a number of blue pills. It has not been confirmed what these pills are exactly, but the belief is that they have been placed inside the bangers to cause pain and distress to dogs.
Other reported cases have seen suspected dog poisonings in County Down, Northern Ireland..
The growing implementation of Public Space Protection Orders have seen many a dog walker caught out in recent months. The rules, introduced by local councils have been set in order to address a range of issues, from dog mess concerns to safety fears.
Fines of over £100 have been handed out across the country, meaning that dog walkers need to ensure they know the local restrictions.
There have even been on-the-spot fines handed out on Merseyside to a lady whose dog’s lead exceeded the local authorities limit of two meters. In recent months there have also been fines handed out to people walking dogs off the lead, walking too many dogs, as well as failing to carry two waste bags.
Ensuring the safety of your dogs, whether it be from poisons plants or dangerous diseases should be paramount to your dog walking service. By keeping vigilant, the health of both your dogs and your wallet can easily be achieved.