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Walking your dog safely in the spring

Now that the snow is finally melting in Pennsylvania, many dog owners are becoming more excited to take longer walks around the city. There’s more sunlight and less cold temperatures, so taking your pet out on a leash doesn’t feel so much like a chore anymore.

However, there are some parts you have to get used to no matter how long you’ve had Fido for. Even though it's less hazardous to take walks in the spring, there are still some unique seasonal obstacles you have to prepare for. A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania states that in the last decade, bone fractures associated with walking leashed dogs more than doubled for seniors in the U.S. As you start taking longer walks to keep yourself healthy and your dog happy, here are some hazards to watch out for:

Prepare for the rain

Even though there’s not as much snow coming down, there are still plenty of times the ground will remain wet in the spring. While it isn’t wrong to take your dog on a walk in the rain, most veterinarians agree that they probably won’t enjoy it. Since the air is still a little cool outside, they run the risk of catching hypothermia if they lack protection. If your dog needs to go out during a bad forecast, try walking in areas that have rooftops and see if you can find a small waterproof rain coat to put on them when it starts pouring outside.

Limit your routes in the dark

It's great that there is a lot more daylight now, but some people overestimate how much we have. It will still be a while before the sun goes down around 9:00 p.m. A recent study confirms that pedestrian deaths in Pennsylvania rose by 41 percent, and nearly 90 percent of those fatalities happened at night. Keep you and your dog in areas that are well-lit and make sure you both have reflective clothing that can warn incoming drivers of your presence.

Take advantage of crosswalk space

One of the reasons winter is one of the worst seasons for pedestrians and their pets is because they were limited on where they could go in the sidewalk. Some people stood on the edge of crosswalks or had to leap over a mound of snow before crossing the road. Now that the snow is nearly gone, use that extra space to your benefit. A few feet can make a huge difference when a negligent driver approaches the area, so you better make sure your dog stays with you until it’s safe to cross.

If you or your canine companion are hurt by a reckless motorist while taking a stroll, make sure you know what legal options you have that can assist you in the recovery.

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