The unconditional love of a pet is heartwarming and comes with great perks. Owning a dog can significantly benefit your physical and mental health. Petting them for a mere 15 minutes can reduce blood pressure while walking together regularly, promotes weight loss, and enhances musculoskeletal strength and joint movement.
The downside? A fall risk.
Walking a dog can put you at serious risk for a nasty sprain or strain if certain precautions are not taken.
Dog-walking injuries are not to be underestimated. The statistics may surprise you – hip damage is the number one injury, followed by hand/wrist and upper arm trauma. The experience of a broken hip from our beloved pooch’s antics can have severe repercussions on our lives; awareness of how to protect ourselves should always come first when taking Fido out for his daily stroll!
Let’s look at some things you can do to minimize your fall risk when walking your furry best friend.
- Early dog training is a sound investment. Teaching Fido not to pull on the leash can avoid a severe accident for you and your pet.
- This one is obvious: don’t text while walking your pet. You don’t text and drive, and this also applies to walking. A distraction can send your pet off on a chase and take you down. Relax, put away the phone, and enjoy the scenery and fresh air.
- Retractable leashes may be a good idea at first. However, they are an invitation for injury. The length provides far too much freedom to take chase of a critter, resulting in a painful shoulder injury for you. Front clip harnesses offer more control and are safer for you and your pet.
- Wrapping the leash around your hand and wrist may feel safe; however, this may cause a sprain from any sharp movement.
- Walking your dog on a leash while riding a bike is a fall risk disaster waiting to happen.
- Sensible shoes are a must to maintain solid footing. Avoid flip-flops, sandals, or shoes without support.
- Is it raining? Wait until the weather subsides to avoid falling on slippery pavement. If Fido cannot wait, opt for non-skid boots instead of sneakers that tend to be slippery in the rain.
- Use a reflector when walking at night and walking facing traffic.
- Leave the headphones at home and stay alert on your walk.
The bottom line:
Having a pet can significantly enhance your health with daily exercise and the emotional well-being of having unconditional love from a furry companion. Taking safety precautions against a fall risk and training your pet will elevate your life together.
Suppose you do experience a simple strain or sprain while walking Fido. In that case, a good home remedy is RICE: rest/ice/compression/elevate. OTC (over-the-counter) medications may also alleviate discomfort. For more severe incidents or pain that does not improve in a few days, it’s best to have a physician evaluate your condition.
Follow us on Facebook here.