5 Safety Essentials for Dog Walkers
The list of safety precautions in dog walking is so long I could write an entire book about it, but let's start with these for today. These 5 preventive measures will have you thanking yourself in an emergency and will help prevent one from happening in the first place.
#1 Use Your Own Equipment
Never get stuck with a Flexi leash or ill-fitting equipment again! Bringing your own gear means no more tracking down client equipment that's not left in the right spot, being forced to use gear you don't like, or the frustration of having to deal with broken or ill-fitting items. Poorly fitted or clunky equipment can lead to a lost dog. Flexi leashes can lead to lacerations (I learned this the hard way years ago, ouch!) among other things. All your equipment can be written off on your taxes too.
#2 Have Your Own ID Tags
Get some tags with your phone number on them to attach to your collars and harnesses. I also put one on my client keys in case I ever drop them. You'll be glad you did if (worst nightmare) a dog ever runs off. You want to be reachable by phone and if the dog only has the client phone number on it can be a problem. The number may not be current, the owner may be out of town, and you're likely the closest to where the pup ran off and can get there fastest if someone calls you.
#3 Have a Hard Copy Contact List
Software is great until you can't access it. Always have a hard copy of your client's contact information:
- Client names
- Phone numbers (including client emergency contact numbers)
- Veterinarian for each dog
To be without this in an emergency would be a nightmare. I don't include addresses on this since I keep a copy in my vehicle. But a hard copy with that info kept in a secure location is a good idea too, unless you're like me and have all your client addresses memorized and don't have any employees.
#4 Update Your Phone Contacts
When an emergency happens you'll probably be stressed. Entering client info directly into your phone contacts simplifies contacting them so you'll have less to stress about. Also, add your local pet emergency vet, favorite veterinarian and local animal control. That way you'll just select them from your phone's contacts and won't have to spend time looking them up in an emergency. If you do this, keep that hard copy I mentioned in #3 handy too, if your phone stops working you'll still want to be able to access that info!
#5 Keep Your Phone With You and Charged
You need to be able to make and receive calls, so keep that baby charged up! If you're driving a lot this can be easily done by charging while you drive. If not, bring a backup battery source if there's danger of your battery running low. And, keep your phone on you at all times. Having your phone allows you to take video or photo evidence in the event of an altercation or accident as well as call for help if needed.