Keeping Our Dogs Safe in Winter

The other evening whilst driving along the past the Peedie Sea two dogs dashed out in front of my car in their haste to catch a ball thrown to them by their owner. Although the dogs were not hit by any cars they were hard to see.

Image credit Bell

The Veterinary charity PDSA has published advice about keeping our dogs safe especially in winter when we are out and about because each year, the  PDSA treats thousands of pets who have been involved in road traffic accidents. PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing explained:

Keep them on the lead

“The easiest way to keep your pooch safe while out walking, especially near roads, is to use a lead. A short lead, attached to a well-fitted collar or harness, will give you more control and keep your pup close by – this is particularly important as the nights grow darker. If you let your pooch off the lead to run around, only do so in a secure, enclosed area where they can’t run onto nearby roads or become disorientated and lost. It’s also vital and a legal requirement that, should the worst happen and you get separated, your pet is wearing a collar and tag and that their microchip details are up to date.”

Stop, look, and listen

“Our four-legged friends aren’t naturally street smart when it comes to avoiding traffic, so it’s important to train them to stop and wait to help prevent them rushing onto an unsafe road. To do this you’ll need three separate commands – ‘sit’, ‘wait’, and ‘go’. When approaching a curb, ask your pet to sit and wait while you check the road is clear, rewarding them when they’re calm and sitting. Once the coast is clear, instruct them to cross safely and reward them when they reach the other side. Make sure you do this each time you cross the road to help your pet learn the routine, and understand that it’s more rewarding to wait than to dash across the road.”

Stay visible

“It’s always best to walk your dog during daylight hours but, as the days get shorter, this may become trickier, so making sure you and your pup are both visible on your walks is important. Wearing a high visibility jacket is great for this, as is brightly coloured clothing, so that drivers can spot you. You can also use a reflective lead, harness and LED collar for your pooch. Remember to take a torch to help keep your surroundings illuminated when you venture out, too, and choose roads with pavements where you can”

Master key commands

“It’s a good idea to consider teaching your dog an emergency ‘stop’ command – as an extra safety precaution. Even if they aren’t let off the lead, being able to control them in an emergency is important for their safety. It only takes something small to spook your dog and for them to run towards the road, so training them to obey this verbal instruction is another safeguard to keep you both happy and safe while out and about.”

For more information on ensuring your dog gets enough exercise, visit

Magnus the dog credit: Steve Sloan

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1 reply »

  1. The Word for Ben was “Stay!” Said short and sharp and it pretty much meant ‘freeze’. It was useful in all kinds of situations.

    Why not just say ‘freeze’? Say both of them out loud to yourself and you’ll hear the difference.

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