Walking your dog is seen as a good way to reach weight loss goals, keep in shape, decrease stress and socialize but it could also increase your risk of injury. During the winter months and times of inclement weather, odds for an injury are at an even higher risk. NBC News did an additional story regarding seniors and injuries resulting from dog walking a few years ago. The injuries seen by incidence are hip fractures, wrist fractures, and injuries of the upper arm. The mechanism of injury is usually due to a tangled or wrapped leash, trying not to step on the dog, or pulling of the dog, and of course ice during these cold winter months. Booties are an option for helping your dog gain more traction and protection from salt and ice, however, just like our boots, they’re not perfect. Watching where you’re both walking, going slow, and taking breaks are all good ideas. If your dog is high energy work on training your dog to walk slowly during walks.
Here are some key points to remember when taking your dog for a walk:
- Do not wrap the leash around your hand or wrist. Most trainers say that you should place the leash loop on your thumb and let it dangle down past your hand then bring it up loosely and around your thumb again and through the palm, then make a fist to hold onto the lease.
- Wear appropriate shoes when walking your dog.
- Pay attention to your dog and your surroundings. No phone use, no zoning out.
- Do not use a long leash. It is best to keep the dog next to you on either side.
- Don’t put fingers under the collar, they can get caught in the collar or leash.
- Keep your dog by your side, to decrease pulling.
Walking your dog should be an enjoyable activity for both of you. So be safe and have fun!
In case you do sustain an injury while walking your dog, our team at the Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center is here to help!