Personally, I have lost count and time permitting, I try always to remain with these dogs until their owner returns.
I have been called neurotic and scaremongering, when I point out the dangers to unconcerned owners, while thankful owners have assured me that they will think twice before leaving their dogs again!
It is estimated that five dogs go missing every day in the UK, but the true amount may be even higher since these are only the cases which have been reported.
There are numerous dangers to consider when leaving your dog unattended and below are some ‘common sense’ reasons for not doing so.
Isolation in a public place can be extremely stressful for your dog. Trolleys rattling past, unwanted attention from admiring strangers and screaming children, can be enough to ignite barking from the mildest mannered dog.
So-called ‘designer dogs’ are a prime target for the opportunist thief and can reap handsome monetary rewards.
We all know the risks of leaving a dog in a hot car, but extreme heat in any situation can cause your dog to dehydrate and the consequences can be lethal. Likewise, severe rain and cold can be extremely uncomfortable for your pet. Another reason to leave them at home on your weekly shop.
Frightened dogs can be seriously hurt if their lead becomes tangled and well-meaning strangers offering help, can be bitten.
A stressed dog is quite capable of slipping a lead or chewing themselves free. A dog on the loose is not going to know his highway code and could get killed or suffer a serious injury on the road.
A tethered dog is defenseless against an aggressive dog, especially if the other dog is off the lead. Feeding your dog chocolate, or tormenting him and unruly children who think that it is fun to unleash your dog and watch him run away.
An outstretched lead on an unsupervised dog can become a hazard itself, especially for young children or people who are blind or partially sighted.
Believe it or not, some people are actually afraid of dogs and one blocking an entrance can force them to wait until your return, before they dare pass!
While dogs will undoubtedly enjoy a walk to the supermarket, they are unaware of the risks and look to their owners for safety. It is highly unlikely that legislation will ever allow non-service dogs inside public places such as supermarkets or eateries, so we must take precautions to protect them.
Of course, we want to include our dogs in daily life, but not at the expense of their safety. It may have been a safe practice to leave your dog’s years ago, but modern-day risks could see you losing your dog forever.
Social media is awash with stories of lost pets. Some owners stating that they were gone for just minutes, but when they returned their dogs had gone and were in disbelief that someone could steal their beloved pet.
Combining your errands with exercising your dog may seem convenient, but it takes but seconds for a dog to lost or stolen. Every minute your dog spends unattended increases the dangers and the heartbreak of losing your dog can be eternal.