Our four-legged friends love being outdoors, but it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers that roads and traffic can pose to our pets when exploring their surroundings. Our roads are so busy and as electric cars become more popular, there is the additional risk that they’re often difficult to hear when they approach – so it’s important to keep alert and make sure you and your pets are visible.
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “Sadly, both cats and dogs are at risk of being injured or even killed in accidents on roads. That being said, there are steps you can take to keep your precious pooch or puss safer. Before you do anything else, make sure you have pet insurance which includes veterinary fees, in place. If the worst happens and your furry family member is involved in a road accident, pet insurance will help to cover the cost of veterinary treatment for their injuries.
“If your cat insists on exploring during the night, reflective collars can be useful, but it’s important that you buy one with a quick release clasp, so they don’t get caught up. This way, drivers will be more likely to spot your pet when they’re near roads. Alternatively, if you want to keep your pet extra safe, keep them indoors at night and only let them out during daylight hours. In this instance, try feeding your cat as it begins to get dark — they should get used to the schedule and return home for food before nightfall.
“You’ll want a good quality lead attached to a well-fitted collar or harness when taking your dog for walkies – the simplest way to make sure your pooch safe is to keep them on a short lead. If you’re going to take them off the lead to have a run-around, check that the area is secured with fences or railings so they can’t run onto any nearby roads. It’s worth ensuring that your dog has their ID tag attached to their collar and that your pet’s microchip details are updated to your current contact details too, in case the worst happens and you get separated.
“While you won’t be able to teach your canine companion to look left and right, you can still use simple commands to help keep them safe by busy roads. When approaching a road with your dog on a lead, ask your dog to ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ and give them a reward when they do so. Once your dog has sat calmly and you’re happy that it’s clear, give the command to ‘walk’ and cross the road together carefully. Using these simple commands will help to control your pooch around roads and get them in the habit of waiting for instructions when crossing.
“While it’s always better to walk dogs in daylight, at this time of year it isn’t always possible, so when walking your four-legged friend during darker hours, you should make sure drivers can see both of you. You could wear bright coloured clothing or even a high visibility jacket to help them spot you. For your furry friend, you can use a high visibility dog coat or an LED collar to help them stand out along roads.”
To find LED collars and other pet accessories visit PDSA’s online store at pdsapetstore.org.uk – every purchase helps PDSA to help more pets in need.
PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk
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