Safety is a must when it comes to pet ownership.
Me? I’m a stickler for safety. Not just because it’s the best thing for Jet, but also because he’s already so accident prone that I just can’t afford any avoidable accidents!
So, today I’m going to share 10 safety products that EVERY dog owner should consider using, and yes, that means you too.
1. The Crate
You had to know that the crate would be on this list.
A crate is a must for any dog that does not have serious confinement issues. If you do have a dog with confinement issues, do EVERYTHING you can to work with a trainer to help your dog to overcome them because a crate means a safe dog.
Crates provide your dog with a safe place, not only when they are sleeping or when you are out of the house, but also when you are traveling in the car.
The SINGLE safest place for your dog when you must take them anywhere in the car is inside a crate!
Crate cost is going to vary depending on the size of the crate, the material of the crate, how many doors the crate has, and any added features. A basic metal crate with one door is always my recommendation and if you have a puppy, get a large crate with a divider. Your cost for this type of crate is going to be around $25 and $60.
2. The Seatbelt and Harness
If you have a dog that simply will not tolerate crating or if you have a car that will not accommodate a crate, invest in a seatbelt and harness system.
This system will ensure that your dog is secured in the car in the case of an accident but will do so without putting excessive strain on the neck or risking a collar slipping off.
There are plenty of different seatbelt and harness systems out there in various sizes and designs. Go for a system that uses metal clips and rings that offer more durability and a harness that is padded for added protection for your dog.
Your cost for a system like the one pictured above is going to be around $25.
3. A High Visibility Dog Vest
A high visibility dog vest is one piece of safety equipment that most dog owners don’t give much thought to. As the evenings get darker faster, however, it’s something that all dog owners need to think about – especially owners of black dogs!
A simple high visibility dog vest will make your dog easy to see from dusk onward and keep you both safe when walking. Plus, it’s really not an expensive investment to make.
There are a lot of different visibility vests out there for dogs, but I really like this one because it’s mesh. The mesh construction makes it usable in winter and summer months.
I also like this model instead of the strap harnesses because this creates a full outline of your dog rather than a few “glowing” straps which can confuse drivers in the dark.
A vest like this comes in a range of sizes from x-small to xx-large and will cost you between $18 and $26.
4. Leash Flags
Leash flags are great for any number of situations, but particularly when you have a dog that needs to be left alone when walking.
Jet, for example, is shy. If we are walking and someone comes running over to him it makes him very uncomfortable. In our instance, I prefer the “Ask Before Approaching” flag because I feel that it gets the message across in a more straight-forward way.
These flags are usually available on doggy deal sites for around $7 each and easily slip onto your dog’s leash.
5. Car Barrier
I’m not talking about the old school metal barriers that we used to have in cars to keep dogs in the trunk. I’m talking about the waterproof bucket type barrier pictured above.
Paired with a seatbelt and harness, this barrier keeps your dog safe by making sure they stay in the back seat when uncrated. This way, if your harness gives out during an accident, there is a lower chance that your dog is going to fly forward and through the windshield.
Seriously, though? Get a crate for travel and USE IT.
Interested in picking up a barrier like the one above? You can get one for around $35.
6. First Aid Kit
Whether you’re on the road for the holidays or just heading to the park for an afternoon stroll with your pup, a first aid kit is imperative.
I already covered how to make your own first aid kit for your dog but if you’d prefer to buy it readymade, go with the Adventure Medical Kits brand.
Adventure Medical Kits has a number of kit sizes to suit your needs. If you’re like me and are a) nervous and b) have an accident prone dog, get the Workin’ Dog Medical Kit. If you’re not ready to spend $80 (keep in mind that this kit can be used for you too!), then go with the smaller Me and My Dog kit for $49 or the Trail Dog First Aid Kit for $39.
7. A Life Jacket
Contrary to popular belief, not every dog knows how to swim instinctively.
Life jackets aren’t just good for new swimmers, however. If ever you take your dog to swim in an area where there is a possibility of strong currents, or if you are boating and the water isn’t safe to swim in for any reason, a life jacket for your dog is a must!
We have always used Outward Hound brand jackets and found them to work exceptionally well. They are priced between $25 and $35.
8. A Microchip
There is a reason why your vet is insistent that you get your dog microchipped. A microchip not only helps your dog find their way back home to you if they get lost, but the HomeAgain chip also works with a local alert system. Whenever any pet with a Home Again chip goes missing in your area, you can set up an email alert to let you know. This means that when your pet goes missing, all you have to do is let Home Again know and they will email locals to let them know that your dog is missing in the area too!
Just remember, you HAVE to keep your dog’s information on their chip up to date at all times. Now would be a great time to check your dog’s chip information if you haven’t checked it in a while!
A home again chip has to be implanted by your vet, if I recall correctly, we paid $35 for ours and I wouldn’t be without it.
9. A Stainless Steel Slow Feeder
If you have a dog that gulps, eats too quickly, or who is prone to bloat, then you need to invest in a slow feeder.
There are a hundred and one different slow feeder options on the market, but we like the Durapet stainless steel slow feeder.
I always use stainless steel bowls because they are more sanitary and easy to clean. I like these bowls because they also incorporate a rubber bottom that stops the bowl from sliding when we take it out of the raised feeder.
There are a couple of different stainless steel slow feeders out there, this one is available in sizes small to large and runs between $9 and 15.
10. Dog Walking Safety Equipment
I kept this item vague because it really depends on what you are comfortable with carrying and using. The aim here is to have something on you that can keep you and your dog safe in the event of an animal attack.
Personally, I prefer to use sound.
There are plenty of personal attack alarms out there and these work well to both scare away and stun attacking animals. (They work for human attackers too!) The only drawback to these alarms is that their volume can also startle your dog or, if loud enough and close enough, damage their hearing as well.
So, why do I prefer this method? Because I know that I can use it to fend off an attacker. A walking stick is great if you have the upper body strength and leverage to use it. The biggest problem I have with sticks, however, is that they don’t always work. Adrenaline kicks in and an animal may not stop an attack even if they are being beaten mercilessly. The hearing is a much more sensitive area to hit in an attacking animal than the body.
Now, I do need to take a moment to clarify that this is ONLY an emergency intervention to be used in the event of an aggressive animal attack. It should not be used every time a foreign dog approaches and only if other methods such as shouting and arm flailing have been unsuccessful.
You may not care to use this method and that is, obviously, fine. Go with what you are comfortable carrying and using – a walking stick, a personal alarm, bear spray, pepper spray…just be sure that you know how to use it and that it would have some effect on the attacking animal.