As a loving pet parent, you might’ve wondered how best to stay on top of your dog’s safety and wellbeing. Because when you think about it, our dogs really are as close as we can get to our kids, right? (Which also applies to the kind of life-threatening situations they can get themselves into – plus with all the reasons dogs run away.)

So we’ve compiled a bunch of dog safety tips for you to stay on top of their safety, health, and wellbeing. To help protect your buddy – and help you enjoy a long, happy, healthy life together. Let’s get started.

1. Keep your dog on a leash in public places

Let’s start with our first dog safety tip: keep your dog on a leash when out and about. Even if your dog is well trained and well behaved, they might still yank on the leash or rush off to explore some new sight, sound, or smell. Which means they might get lost, dognapped, injured by a passing car, or worse.

⚠️ Walking your dog on a leash in public might even be required by law in some countries. Make sure to check your local laws and ordinances to see if this applies to where you live.

Just imagine what could happen if your dog wants to see what’s going on across the street as a car speeds by?

  • Younger, untrained dogs are more likely to yank at the leash or run away.
  • Similarly, dogs with separation anxiety might get spooked by a passing car, or other people (or dogs) and bolt off away from you while out on a walk.

With your dog on a leash, you have control over where he or she goes. A leash also allows you to keep your pet away from people, or other animals, who may be afraid of dogs.

Read more: How to put on a dog harness in just 7 steps.

A dog wearing a harness and leash outdoors

2. Never allow your dog to wander off alone

Letting your dog walk off leash has a ton of benefits. But even so, we’d recommend keeping an eye out for where your dog is off wandering. Aka, dog safety tip #2: never allow your dear pup to walk away without you.

A free range dog might get their share of pets, praise, and pleasantries. But unless you’re actively tracking your dog’s movements, there’s nothing preventing them from getting dognapped. A pet thief could easily coax your dog into their car with treats – and by then, you’ll have no idea where they’ve taken your dog.

Similarly, some of your neighbors might not take too kindly to an unknown dog wandering around their garden or backyard. (No matter how friendly or well-behaved.) So as a responsible pet owner, what are you supposed to do?

We’d recommend starting by:

  • Getting your dog microchipped. It’s like a permanent ID card for your dog – and a swift, painless procedure. With it, a helpful stranger can find your lost dog, take them to a vet, and identify your dog by scanning their microchip.
  • Attaching a dog GPS tracker to your buddy’s collar. Specifically, one that lets you track your dog in real-time, over an unlimited range, or which alerts you if your dog has wandered past a “safe zone.” So your dog can enjoy their outdoor wandering and you can track them with just a glance at your phone – stress-free.
packaging of the Tractive GPS DOG tracker

Always know where your dog is

Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.

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3. Teach your dog basic commands

We teach our children important, basic commands to keep them safe and stop them from running out in front of a car or putting something dangerous in their mouth. For the same reasons, our next dog safety tip is training your dog some basic commands. (Like sit, stay, and come.)

Like we’ve covered, younger, untrained dogs are more likely to bolt, tug against the collar, or run away. But with just 5-10 minutes of basic obedience training per day, you can help keep your dog safe.

A woman training her dog indoors with a treat at hand

Because no matter where you take your dog – to the park, vet, or even just for walkies – there’s always the chance they might run off to explore. And no matter how smart your dog is, it’s unlikely they’re prepared for the dangers they might run into. (Like cars, open wells, holes, bikes, or spaces they can get trapped in.) But if you’ve trained them to sit or stay, their training can override these instincts to an extent.

Besides, basic training can help your dog be more of a good canine citizen – and it endears you in the eyes of pet parents around you. You can also keep your dog safe indoors by training them the “leave it” command when you see them picking up something chewable – and potentially dangerous. (Like wires, scissors, glue, or medicine.)

💡Clicker training for dogs is a smart, practical method to teach your buddy “good behaviors” through positive reinforcement. Plus, with a little practice, you can get started with it right away.

4. Stay informed on which foods are good & bad for dogs

You probably know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs – but did you know that your kitchen might be full of foods toxic to them? Like, for example, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, salt, nuts, mushrooms, tomatoes – and many, many more. So our next dog safety tip covers nutrition: some of these foods might just make your dog sick, while others can be fatal even in small amounts.

So as a responsible dog parent, make sure to stay on top of foods are absolutely off-limits for your dog – and what to do if you suspect your dog might’ve taken a nibble out of something they shouldn’t have.

Besides, we’d also recommend you educate your kids or younger relatives – feeding a dog any unwanted veggies off their plates is an absolute no-no. Likewise for any Christmas or Halloween candy, which contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs and cats both.

A girl placing cookies on a plate in a kitchen with her dog next to her

On the other hand, dogs can safely consume a number of foods – they’re omnivores, after all. (Unlike cats, who are obligate carnivores.) For example, did you know that dogs can safely eat both watermelon and celery?

So make sure to check in with your vet what human foods dogs can eat. (Plus what are the best vet-approved dog food options to keep your buddy healthy and strong.)

5. Your dog needs dental care, too

Just like you, your dog can suffer from gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth pain. And just like you, regular brushing and oral cleanings help keep your pet’s teeth strong and healthy. Many dogs show signs of dental disease by age three, leading to loose teeth, and chronic pain.

So in addition to regular dental cleanings by your vet, consider giving your dog a regular teeth cleaning. Owner care includes brushing, oral rinses, and dental treats. Your vet is a good source of information about brushing techniques and dental care.

A vet checking a dog's teeth for cavities

💡 Here’s a post where we cover some vet-approved options for dog dental care products and practices.

6. Keep your dog mentally & physically healthy

In order to stay healthy and fit, and to fight disease, dogs need to stay both mentally active and get enough daily movement. Regular exercise helps prevent the age-related health conditions senior dogs usually face. A normal healthy dog will benefit from 2 exercise sessions a day. Off-leash exercises in the garden, playtime in the park, swimming, running and walking are all perfect ways to keep your pup in shape – and also deepen your bond.

⚠️ A dog with a ton of pent-up energy is more likely to run away.1 Keep them indoors for too long and their energy might come out in destructive behaviors. (Like biting or scratching furniture or other household objects.)

A man playing tug of war with his dog in a balcony

So here’s a great way to stay motivated to your dog’s exercise routine – tracking their daily movement. With regular activity tracking, you can:

  • Ensure your dog is getting enough exercise per day. (Helping prevent worse health conditions down the line.)
  • Catch on early to a spike or dip in your dog’s regular activity. (Which might indicate they’re sick.)
  • Take action early if you notice a change in your dog’s behaviors. (Aka, getting them to a vet for a preventive health checkup if they seem more lethargicor hyperactive – than before.)

The Tractive GPS, for example, includes Activity and Sleep tracking that’s even saved the lives of dogs around the world. Like the story of this pet parent who checked her dog’s Wellness profile – and narrowly avoided a medical emergency:

Dog running with tennis ball in mouth in the grass, Tractive GPS app in foreground

When I looked at Ruby’s Wellness profile, the data showed that her activity level was low and that she hadn’t slept well. I was concerned and watched her carefully.

Early the next morning, she had blood in her urine and was lethargic. We visited the emergency veterinarian, and Ruby was diagnosed with a UTI.

She received antibiotics and pain medication and is feeling much better. Her tracker data made me aware that she was not acting normally and that something could be wrong with her.

I love her tracker, and I will always have one for any dog I ever own.

– Katie J, Delaware

Discover GPS & Health Tracking For Dogs

7. Make a dog first aid kit

A dog first aid kit is very important to have at home or to bring when you go on holiday. Like, for example, if you’re out hiking with your dog and they injure themselves chasing a woodland animal. Your kit should include the same kinds of things you would expect in a kit made for humans. Like, for example:

  • Gauze
  • Medical tape
  • An antiseptic product
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • A thermometer
  • Your pet’s medical records,
  • and your contact information for their vet and nearby emergency clinics.
A pair of vets checking a dog for any signs of illness or injury

💡 Keep your pet’s first-aid kit in your home and take it with you if you are traveling or out hiking with your dog.

8. Make sure your dog is getting enough sleep

Much like us, dogs also need enough sleep to ensure they’re healthy and strong. In fact, one of the most common signs of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) in dogs is a change in their sleep patterns.2 Aka, if your dog seems to be waking up more often during naptime, tossing and turn, or generally seeming restless at night.

But how do you track your dog’s sleeptime – when you’re supposed to be getting sleep yourself? Simple. Regular sleep tracking. Which helps you get a picture of how much quality sleep your dog’s getting – including how often they’ve woken up or been disturbed.

Because much like activity tracking, changes in your dog’s sleep quality can be a sign of sickness or even pain. And even worse – your dog might still seem happy and healthy, despite struggling with discomfort!

Evi, a PTSD-trained service dog, with her Tractive GPS

Evi, my PTSD dog was the first to try out the tracker. And after three and a half weeks of using, and finally really trusting the data that Tractive gave me, I found out she was sick before I could even really see it.

Her sleep quality suddenly drastically decreased from around 90% to 60% and her active minutes dropped by about 50 a day.

So even though she still looked happy and healthy, my Tractive device stated otherwise. So I went to the vet with this information. They took me and Tractive seriously…and it turned out she had the beginning of an infection in her ears!

My Tractive GPS is a part of my primary gear now – and I don’t want it any other way.

– Cissy V, Netherlands

Discover GPS & Health Tracking For Dogs

Sebastian Raab, Product Manager at Tractive

“It’s pretty difficult tracking every minute of your pet’s sleep. You can watch them run around and play – but it’s not the same during naptime. But with a Sleep Alert, you can quickly check if there’s been a significant change in your pet’s sleep patterns. If they’re continuously waking up more than usual or just sleeping less well than before, it could be a sign that something’s wrong.”

– Sebastian Raab, Product Manager at Tractive & occasional pet-sitter

9. Avoid aversive training methods to keep your dog safe

All dog parents want to protect their buddies – and some live in remote areas where wandering away from safety can genuinely threaten their dog’s lives. So if you’re one of them, you might’ve considered setting up a physical fence, or investing in an invisible one, or getting your dog a training collar to prevent them from wandering.

⚠️ But physical fences can be pretty expensive to set up and maintain – and your dog can still jump it or dig under it.

Besides, vets strongly discourage the use of e-collars that use static shocks to train your dog. There’s always the risk you’ll cause your dog unimaginable pain – and over time, it can both reduce your buddy’s trust in you or get them to react aggressively in self-defence.

Instead, here’s a smart, humane alternative. A virtual fence. Specifically, one that connects to your dog’s GPS tracker, helps you set up a “safe zone” or a “no go zone” – and just sends you an alert on your phone if your dog sneaks past it. (So you can intervene and pick them up right on time.)

Tractive GPS Virtual Fence tutorial infographic

No need to shock your dog or train them through any kind of aversive method. With a virtual fence, you can prevent your dog from wandering offbut without compromising their love and trust in you.

10. Prevent your dog from getting lost with a pet GPS tracker

Every year, around one-third of all dogs go missing in the US alone.3 And overall, 80% of missing dogs and cats are never found. Dogs might run away for a variety of reasons, including being in heat, their hunting instincts – or simply because they’re bored!

Besides, around 2 million dogs in the US are kidnapped by pet thieves every year.4 Roughly 70% of American homes are also at risk for pet theft.

But the good news? A dedicated dog GPS tracker can prevent your dog from going missing in the first place.

Take the story of Kathy, an off-leash Beagle who was in the middle of her hunting dog training – and tracked by her dad via her Tractive GPS. Suddenly, he noticed she was traveling at high speeds and way off-course!

From her movements, he realized she’d been dog-napped and the kidnappers were driving off with her in their car.

Tracking her with Tractive’s LIVE Mode, her dad called the police and after a two-hour car chase had her back in his arms, safe and sound.

Not all dogs might be this lucky. But with a Tractive GPS safely clipped to your dog’s collar, you can locate your buddy – anytime, anywhere, in real-time – with just a glance at your phone.

Protect My Dog With Tractive GPS

Because the fear and panic of coming home to find your dog missing is never worth it. Rather, with these dog safety tips, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your dog safe and happy – without compromising on their natural curiosity or love for exploring.

Read more: Tractive reviews on Trustpilot

And wrapping up, here are a couple of helpful dog safety pointers from the Woodgreen Pets Charity:

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