For your dog’s sake and yours
It’s a polarizing topic – but it’s not politics, finances, or religion. It’s an aspect of our relationship with man’s best friend: leash laws.
There’s something to be said about the “stay free” nature of dogs, our duty to their happy and healthy lives, and the strong relationship we can build, but it should also go without saying that living in a city necessitates boundaries.
Colorado Springs law prohibits owners from allowing their pets to “attack or threaten to attack or bite any person or domestic animal,” either on residential or business property, unless the animal was necessary to “prevent or apprehend a person engaged in a criminal act…”
Voice control isn’t enough as far as the law’s concerned. Especially in parks that specifically require dogs to be leashed.
The legal consequences? Impoundment of the animal, plus fines and possible jail time for the owner, though there is yet to be any jail time served for these infractions.
And the “real-life” possibilities? The list is endless, from running away, being injured by off-leash dogs or wild animals, causing discomfort or injury to animals or people, being hit by a vehicle, ingesting dangerous substances, and more.
There’s more to dog behavior than one on one with your pooch, no matter how close the bond. For example, if you’ve ever seen a normally docile on-leash dog snap at an off-leash dog, it could be that it feels unsafe when it would normally run away. When one party isn’t following leash laws, it’s easy for this type of situation to get out of hand.
So, what can responsible pet owners do to make sure their pup gets quality exercise, while obeying leash laws and respecting their neighbors?
Check out one of the city’s fantastic dog parks, where dogs must be under voice control, but can run free off leash. Many of the parks have agility courses, water features, and shade.
• Bear Creek Dog Park
• Rampart Dog Park
• Palmer Park Dog Park
Off-Leash Areas in Public Parks
Many public parks allow off-leash dogs in specific areas. Make sure to bring water.
• Red Rock Canyon Open Space
• Palmer Park
• Garden of the Gods
Doggie day care and indoor training centers are fantastic options for high-energy dogs, especially when foul weather hits. Some day cares require proof of training, and all require immunization records.
• Canine Campus
• Camp BowWow
• Jasper’s Splash Zone
Top 6 Tips for Keeping your Dog Healthy, Safe, and Sane This Winter
1: Consider Their Coats
Keep your pet’s natural coat longer to help them retain heat. And while coats or sweaters may seem like a luxury accessory to bite-sized pups, they’re a must-have for puppies, seniors, and some breeds. Short-haired dogs, no matter the size, will benefit from coverage from the base of their tail to their belly. Coated or not, make sure to thoroughly dry your pet after it spends time outside. Tails, ears, and feet are the most susceptible to frostbite.
2: Protect Their Paws
Daily winter walks are important to keep pooches healthy and happy, but it also exposes them to potentially harmful issues. Use pet booties to minimize contact with hazardous winter substances such as anti-freeze and ice-melting chemical agents. No boots? Make sure to clean their paws thoroughly to clear out any ice between pads. A dollop of petroleum jelly on their pads before your walk will make cleaning easier, and keep their pads safer and warmer.
3: Skip the Dip
Limit baths to the stinkiest and dirtiest of days. Frequent bathing can deplete essential oils and create dry, uncomfortable skin. If you must wash, make sure they’re dry enough to stay warm, and ask a veterinarian or professional groomer for recommendations on moisturizing shampoos and rinses.
4: Limit Car Time
Colorado Governor Hickenlooper recently signed a law granting immunity to people who break dogs out of hot cars for a reason. Just as cars heat up more quickly than you’d think, wintry weather will turn your car into a refrigerator, holding in the cold. Leaving pets alone in the car is potentially fatal and not advised.
5: Drop Back on Snacks
If your pet sees less exercise in the winter than in the summer, it’s worth consulting your veterinarian about adjusting their food intake. Consider taking them to an indoor play center or dog care if you’re unable to tolerate the cold or give them sufficient exercise. Vice versa, if you have a snow-loving adventure pup, they can burn extra calories slogging through snow. Regardless, always make sure they have plenty of water available, as the winter months can be dehydrating.
6: Lastly… Love the Leash
Dogs can very easily lose their own scent in the snow and easily become lost. In fact, dogs are lost more often in the winter than during any other season – made worse with frozen ponds and creeks. Always check for ID tags before heading out with them.