DOG WALKING TIPS
We have received several complaints from members of the public with regard to incidents they’ve witnessed concerning the poor treatment of dogs which are being taken out for their daily walk. A number of owners send a member of their staff out with their dogs and, whilst we applaud them for doing this, there is concern that perhaps the staff members haven’t really been told what to do and what not to do. Here are a few tips we recommend be passed on to those walking the dogs:
1. It is preferable to walk your dogs during the cooler hours in the morning and evening, but if this isn’t possible, always carry water and a container, taking time to rest and water your dog in the shade. Dogs can’t sweat and need time to cool down.
2. Make sure your dog is healthy enough to embark on a long walk – overweight dogs should be checked by your Vet first.
3. Start with a shorter distance, gradually working up to longer ones.
4. Keep well away from main roads and the dangers of traffic – preferably stay on sidewalks or pathways.
5. Be attentive at all times to prevent awkward situations.
6. Don’t do things that will excite the dogs – like shouting and making sudden movements – this will reduce control over the dog.
7. Dragging dogs by their collar can cause damage to the trachea which may lead to breathing problems. If the dog wants to stop (especially to urinate or defecate) let them.
8. Be considerate to others, both humans and animals.
9. Most importantly, make sure your dog has a name tag on his/her collar – even better, have them micro-chipped. Report any dog that may run away immediately.
10. If unaccompanied dogs are encountered that are constantly off their property and causing problems, please report them – in the interest of their own safety, as well as that of yours and your dogs.
11. Please make sure your dogs’ vaccinations are up to date.
12. Remember Harare Municipal By-laws state that female dogs must be sterilized.
It may be worthwhile walking with your staff member on occasion just to make sure that they are competent and are treating your dogs correctly.
Animal Welfare Officer