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What you need to know about keeping dogs safe

Here are some suggestions that express love and help keep your canine friends safe

There are so many ways to love our pets and most dog owners are great at lots of cuddles, daily walks and plenty of treats. But there are a number of ways we can show our pets love. Here are some tips that express love and help keep your dog safe.

Keep their toenails short
Torn toenails are a regular veterinary visit and often are the result of nails that are too long and becoming snagged, so regular nail trims are very important. It can also be helpful for some dogs to have their fur trimmed between the pads of their paws for added stability on the more slippery floors or icy paths. Canine paw care becomes much more necessary as the dog gets older.

Do not feed them cooked bones
These can easily splinter into sharp pieces and cause significant damage. Round bones can also slip over the lower jaw and become stuck behind the canine teeth. If you choose to feed bones to your dog, be sure they are appropriately sized for your dog's mouth capacity.

Consumable raw meaty bones such as chicken and turkey necks are best. These are different from recreational ones like large knuckle and marrow bones which have very little meat and are typically not consumed.

Supervise canine interactions
Supervise and manage interactions between your dog and other dogs he or she does not know. Understanding how dogs communicate and what body language to look for from both your dog and other dogs is key in preventing unwanted interactions and facilitating great ones; puppies especially, as their body language skills are not as clear as adult dogs. Even the gentlest dogs will reach their patience capacity.

Have a solid recall
Whether you already walk your dog off leash or you need it in an emergency situation when your dog gets away from you, a well trained recall can be life saving. This is something that can be trained with consistent dedication and reinforcement. A good trainer can help you train this behaviour.

Watch for wildlife
Supervise your dog in their yard and be aware when out hiking that you live in wildlife country. Fights with other animals, wild or domestic, can be very damaging and are another regular veterinary visit.

Having the proper safety animal deterrents and first aid supplies are essential. Be sure to have identification on your dog as well in the form of a tag or a microchip.

Learn about canine first aid
What you do between when an injury happens and when veterinary care is available can greatly affect your dog's chances at a full recovery. I instruct a comprehensive, eight-hour Dogsafe Canine First Aid course; it can also be taken online. 

Robyn Andexser has been working in the dog training industry for almost 20 years and offers private dog training lessons. For information and upcoming course dates in the qathet region or on Vancouver Island, go to

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