It’s January and National Walk Your Pet Month is here again upon us. A perfect time for you and the dogs in your life to get the great health benefits it provides as well as a great bonding time. While walking your dog is a way to help your pup get rid of extra amounts of energy, it is also a great source of exercise. According to data by Pet Obesity Prevention, above 50% of pets in America are overweight.
Contrary to general belief, walking your dog does far more than simply alleviating excess energy. Other benefits include:
Taking your dog for a daily stroll helps your dog to stay active. Consider what your dog does all day while you are away at work or running errands. Certain dog breeds such as pugs or bulldogs are generally known to be lazy. Once they hit old age, all they do is sleep. Ensuring your dog stays physically stimulated and active is vital to their wellbeing and will prolong their life.
Your pup’s mental wellbeing is as important as its physical well-being. Walking your dog is an excellent way to stimulate their minds. Dogs have a very good time sniffing the trees and sidewalks because every encounter outside of their home is a new encounter.
Dog walking is a wonderful bonding experience for a pup and its owner. It is also a good time to focus on training your dog while strengthening the bond between you two. To maximize this time, focus on your dog. Don’t walk and talk on the phone. The more time you spend with your dog, the more attached they become to you. The bond strengthens when you give them love, affection, attention, and companionship not just food and water.
It’s difficult for your dog to walk calmly on a leash when filled with pent up energy. If you have a high energy dog, walking your dog daily is an opportunity to burn off that excess energy and leash train your dog. As soon as your dog begins to walk well on a leash, you can now focus on relishing the walk and also maximizing it for burning some calories by:
- Maximizing Your Walk
A slow walk is not going to do much for revving up you and your dog’s metabolism. Hasten your walk to an average of about one mile in a period of 20 minutes or 3 miles an hour. Are you walking that fast? Sometimes dogs get caught up in the smells and slow down your progress. This is where leash training comes in handy. There’s time to let them sniff and time to walk. You can start out slow or slow down when you get to a favorite spot. With time, they will adapt to your rhythm if you train them to trot along beside you.
- Safety after Dark
Remember it is January, and it gets dark early. If your dog walking activities take place in the predawn, late afternoon or evening hours, you have to ensure you are seen by pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and other dog walkers. A lighted leash and lighted lighted collar combination is good for your pup. It’s advisable to wear light-colored clothes, a reflective vest or jacket.
If your work schedule doesn’t allow for time to walk your dog daily or if you have a medical condition that gets in the way, there are many benefits to hiring a dog walker. If you don’t know any professional dog walkers you may find our article useful on how to find a dog walker.
What about you? How will you participate in National Walk Your Pet Month? We suggest making it one of your goals this year to go out and walk your dog regularly for at least a few times each week.