When out with your dog for a walk in the park, or around your neighborhood, it hardly seems likely that anything could go wrong. Even having your dog with you generally gives humans a sense of calm and security.  In spite of this feeling, accidents still happen, and threatening situations can present themselves.  You could be approached by a stray dog, or coyote, or find yourself in an isolated area.  For those of you who live in busy cities or regions with wild animals, here are some ways you can stay safe while walking your dog.

Deterrent Spray:  Like mace, pepper spray or bear spray, one thing many pet owners do is take some deterrent spray on their walks. This proves especially helpful if you find yourself walking toward a seedy individual or dog. Keep pet deterrent spray in your back pocket or purse in case the dog is threatening.  (If you are concerned about the power of using pepper spray, opt for citronella-based products. These seem to work the best, since peppery products can back fire if it is a windy day.)

Air Horns: Small hand-held air horns are a good tool to take on dog walks. They are obnoxiously loud and can be alarming enough to send skittish or wild animals running.  Likewise, a person with bad intentions will not want any sound or call for help to occur near him, and might scare him off.  Though it is unlikely you will ever need to use it, having the option of an air horn is a load to take off your mind. 

Walking Stick: Bringing a long stick is a natural part of walking and hiking, especially if you are in a more rural area. What might function as a stride-support could easily double as a weapon to wave towards strange dogs, wild cats, snakes, or even humans if the need should ever arise.

Fake-Out Method:  Perhaps you have heard the warning, if you ever suspect you are being followed in your car, you should drive to the nearest police station. Similarly, when walking your dog, if you should feel uneasy, some people recommend walking up a long driveway towards a front door as if it is your home. Usually if a loose dog is following you, he will lose interest and run away for fear of getting caught in a tight area, and a stranger might back off as well, not knowing who else could be inside.  Though this is not our favorite option, it might be a good method of defense in a pinch!

Snack-attack: As mentioned in our blog about avoiding stray, wild or unchained dogs while out and about with your pup, the “snack attack” tactic usually works well as a distraction technique.  Carry a handful or bag of fragrant dog treats with you. That way if an animal comes to close to you and your dog, you can toss the treats right into the animal’s face, or behind his head, so that he will then turn around and start eating them. This may give you and your pup a moment long enough to be able to slip safely away unnoticed.