At Spare Leash safety is our number one priority, and we work hard to apply safe practices to meet our goal of zero incidents.
Despite our best efforts, we had a recent scare with a Spare Leash dog who decided to slip out of his harness during the October holiday and take a journey on his own! We took the time to capture our learnings from this incident and though we could add value by sharing the tips below with our fellow pet lovers.
By following these tips and tons of support from the pet community, our Spare Leash dog was returned home safely!
Dog walking safety tips
Whether its morning, afternoon or night, dog walking for most of us is an easy and relaxing task that both the owner and the pet can enjoy. Beware that in the blink of an eye, this relaxing break can turn into chaos if you are not properly prepared. Before heading out for a walk, double check the essentials below to avoid incident:
Does my dog have……
- an identification tag attached to the collar? This is a must for a Spare Leash service to take place. Tags should include the pet’s name, address, phone number in both English & Chinese.
- a collar or harness that fits? We suggest using both a harness for walks and a collar at all times. Make sure you can’t fit more than two fingers under their collar. If it’s too loose, tighten it.
- an illuminated or reflective collar? If you are walking your dog at night, make sure your dog has something that allows cars, scooters, and bikers to see the dog clearly. Simple reflective jackets, light up collars or a simple hanging light can all do the trick.
- a leash? Provide a sturdy leash with no damages to avoid breakage. Fixed-length leashes between four and six feet are recommended to provide ample distance while walking and safety in a busy city. If going to a dog park to play with others, a long line leash is a safe choice to provide more space for play.
- registered? If yes, take the registration card along with you.
- a microchip? If yes, load this number in your phone contacts for easy access.
- water & water bowl? Depending on how far you will be walking, it’s important to keep your pet hydrated along the way especially in the summer heat.
- a charged cell phone? Don’t text and walk but in case of an emergency, a fully charged phone is a great tool to have should you need to contact help.
- treats? Always good to have on hand to reward your pet & great for training on the go.
- doggy waste bags? Help keep our streets clean of waste and help prevent spreading diseases from one animal to another. 100% biodegradable waste bags can be purchased below:
What if I hire a sitter to walk my dog?
Knowing how your dog will respond to a pet sitter or dog walker is important. To help reduce the risk of your dog getting lost while in someone else’s care, make sure you invest in the time to do a proper meet and greet with this sitter.
During a Spare Leash meet and greet between a pet owner and sitter review your routines and safety practices:
- How do they behave on a leash?
- Do they wear a harness, collar, or both?
- Have the sitter practice putting on both collar or harness on the dog. Practice when the pet owner is present and again with pet owner out of the room.
- Ensure the sitter knows how to operate the leash and tests the length. Have sitter hold it and get a feel for it. (Note: *All Spare Leash sitters must have the dogs leashed at all times, no exceptions!)
- Is the dog territorial? Enter the home once with the client present and then again without pet owner.
- Do they have any likes or dislikes when on walks? – Crossing streets, other dogs, cats, buses, noise etc.
- Do a quick trial walk outside with the dog and sitter to make sure all goes well.
- Any problems with separation anxiety?
- Have they ever escaped before? If so, what worked in the past?
For more information on what questions to ask and what to leave with a sitter to make your dog’s stay as comfortable as possible check out our Spare Leash Checklist to make sure all items are accounted for.
What to do when accidents do happen?
My dog escaped, now what?
Leash breaks, slips through your hands, the dog gets scared, slips out of harness… you name it, it can and has happened. We have gone over how to avoid it but now, what to do when it happens?
Don’t run after the dog or make any quick movements, first try:
- Drop to the floor. -Dogs can be thrown off by this odd behavior and will become curious and approach
- Run in the opposite direction- Run away from the dog? Yes. Dogs love being chased but also chasing you can be seen as a game or fun allowing the dog to head back in your direction
- If the dog continues to walk away try to calmly follow the dog
- If dog gets out of sight, note the last street corner it has been seen and immediately contact Spare Leash and inform the owner
- Regularly check back sitters home and the owners home in case the dog found its way back
- Go to the closest police station to check CCTV footage
- Ask people that are frequent in this area, if they have seen the dog (security guards, street cleaners, shop owners, police officers)
- Ask Spare Leash for “a Lost Dog flyer”- we have a flyer template ready and search community ready to help
- Contact vet clinics who can help blast out the flyer and help get the word out
- Put the dogs bedding outside your apartment/building allowing him to pick up the smell
- Always carry treats with you
- Send regular updates to the owner and Spare Leash
We would love to hear from you. Please contact us to share one of your lessons learned or tips not listed above and we’ll happily share. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Spare Safety plans for cats or medical emergencies head to http://www.spareleash.com.cn