To coincide with Road Safety Week, PDSA are warning that it’s not just humans who are at risk from the perils of road traffic.
Every year PDSA vets see hundreds of pets that have been involved in horrific road traffic accidents – and the longer evenings in winter might bring added danger.
With large numbers of vehicles and even cyclists out on the roads, it’s difficult to entirely protect our dogs, but PDSA says the risks can be significantly reduced if owners take some simple but effective precautions.
PDSA Vet, Olivia Anderson-Nathan, says: “The simplest step you can take is to keep your dog under close control and on a short lead whilst walking when it’s getting dark. Even if your dog is really well behaved and always comes when they’re called, it only takes a moment’s distraction or a little fright for an accident to happen.
“A good quality lead attached to your dog’s collar or harness will mean you can keep your dog close to your side while you’re walking next to busy roads. Extender leads can actually be more dangerous – they don’t give you the control you need if your dog suddenly dashes off.”
PDSA offer some other top tips to keep pets’ road safe:
- Teach your dog road awareness. If your dog knows a few simple commands – like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ – you can help them learn some road sense, which will help to keep them safe.
- Stay safe, stay seen – wear a high visibility jacket yourself and use a reflective or high-vis collar and lead on your dog when you have to walk them in the dark. This means you can both be seen when there’s less light and can reduce the risk of a road traffic accident when walking near roads.
- Teach your dog a few commands such as ‘stop’ and ‘come here’ in case they run towards a road. Teaching them a command like ‘wait’ or ‘stop’ could help to put your dog’s brakes on in an emergency. ‘Come away’ or ‘come here’ will then bring your dog away from danger.
- Collar, tag and microchip – unfortunately, accidents can happen. It’s really important that you can be contacted in an emergency if your dog does get into an accident on the road. By law, your dog must be microchipped – and ensure the chip is registered to your most -up-to-date address. They also legally need to wear a collar and identification like a tag – showing your name, address and contact number – whenever they’re out and about.
- Pet insurance – if your dog is in a traffic accident, they could have some serious injuries. Emergancy vet bills can quickly add up. Pet insurance can help you cover the cost of any accidents and unexpected treatment. Make sure you look into the small print of any insurance you take out so you’ll have peace of mind that it will cover you for everything and you and your dog might need.