It’s without a doubt that working out is one of the best ways of improving our well-being and that of our pets too (PHOTO: Zen Chung).
Taking your dog for a stroll is not only about social connections, but it is also important in many ways both to you and your furry buddy.
Join us in this post as we unpack the benefits of walking your dog, and how often you need to schedule routine walks with them.
What You Need to Walk Your Dog
Walking your dog is not just a matter of stepping out with them for a round stroll around the neighborhood.
You need to get the accessories that give you control over your dog and safeguard their presence while out in the streets.
FursnPaws.com recommends that you get a fitting collar and a short leash to give you an edge over your walking companion during the activity
You should choose a collar that doesn’t strain your dog’s neck area. If your pooch likes to pull on the leash, or if you have an escape artist, then you can look for a fitting harness to secure them with comfort.
If you are going on a nature trail with your canine friend, you can install a GPS tracking collar to give you their real-time location on your smartphone.
A tracking tool will make it easier to track down your dog when they slip off your presence and get lost in a vast area.
Additionally, you need to carry along some dog poop bags to clean after your pooch when they need to take a potty break. Responsible pet parenting calls for environmental awareness and hygiene.
Lastly, you need to put on a sporty outfit when stepping out for a walk. Lace up your comfy pair of sneakers and wear a light tracksuit to give you the flexibility you need during the activity.
The Top 10 Benefits of Walking Your Dog
Improves physical health
Walking your dog provides them with an opportunity to get regular physical exercise which improves their health.
By making small steps, light jogs, and jumps during the activity, your dog is burning excess calories which helps in maintaining a good and healthy weight.
This cuts down the chances of obesity which reduces their risks of acquiring diseases such as cancers, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular problems just to mention a few.
A study conducted in 2014 has shown that a lack of regular exercise can predispose dogs to acquire various chronic conditions.
Provides mental stimulation
Dogs are curious and social animals with the desire to explore and observe their surroundings.
Leaving your pooch in the house without actively engaging with them might induce them into destructive behaviors as a sign of stress and anxiety.
Walking your furry friend is a good way of opening up their minds to discover new people, new routes, and other pets, and exploring what nature has to offer.
This experience cannot be achieved by exercising your dog in your fenced yard, and this provides more reasons why you should take them out instead.
Creates a bond
When spending time walking your dog, you are also improving your emotional connections with them.
This is a good chance you have to give them your full attention while leading the pack as you walk across the routes.
By fully focusing on your canine companion and spending quality time together, they are likely to drop their attention-seeking behaviors, such as excessive barking, which can be annoying.
Improves their joint health
When dogs live an inactive lifestyle for far too long, their joints will tend to weaken and become less functional.
This might lead to mobility problems stemming from hip dysplasia and joint-related diseases such as arthritis.
keeping your dog’s joints in action or low-impact exercise through regular walking is a good way to prevent joint-related complications.
Improves your dog’s digestion
Taking your dog out for their daily stroll can help to regulate their digestive tract and reduces the chances of diarrhea and constipation.
The muscles along the digestive tract are stimulated when the dog is walking, and this helps to move the food more efficiently and provides for healthy bowel movements.
It builds their trust and confidence
Regular treks with your dog can help to build trust and confidence, especially if they are timid around people.
Walking exposes them to other people with their pets, cars, birds, and many other things which would have ordinarily scared them.
But with your guidance, your dog can learn to trust you and become more confident in the presence of others.
Grows and builds stronger muscles
Dogs’ muscles are built and strengthened by physical activities such as walking and running.
Going out with them for a routine stroll in your neighborhood will put all their muscles to work hence realigning and making them stronger.
A dog with well-built muscles will be more willing to engage in intense physical activities. They will also be ready to take on new challenges such as participating in nature trails and hiking.
Regular walks with your dog expend their pent-up energy making them calm down and reduce hyperactivity after the exercise.
This is the energy that could have otherwise been used to engage in destructive activities and restlessness if they had never redirected it to the walk.
After getting home, your pooch will have a relaxed body and mind which helps to improve their sleep quality without feeling hyper while in their bed.
Stepping out with your canine friend for their routine trekking provides the best time for monitoring their progress in training.
It is here that you can see if your pooch has mastered the latest skill that you taught them or if you need to train them some more.
For example, you can use this chance to recall your dog from distractions or practice the ‘sit and stay’ command to gauge their understanding and response time.
It is good for you too
Going for routine walks with Fido is not only beneficial for them, but it also gives you some benefits to take home.
In fact, you will also claim most of the good things that your walking companion gets.
These include improving your heart health, reducing stress, building muscles, improving joint health, socializing with other people, maintaining a healthy weight, etc.
Having a loyal walking companion will give you the motivation to continue with the activity more than if you did it all by yourself.
Choose a routine that works well for both of you and your dog will always look forward to getting leashed for their upcoming walks.
How Often Should I Walk My Dog?
The duration of walking and how often you take your dog out will depend on several factors such as age, breed, and overall well-being.
If your dog is just starting to go on walks, you should minimize the duration to prevent them from creating a negative association with the experience.
A healthy small or medium-sized dog can manage between 15 and 30 minutes of daily walks for a start.
As you progress with consistency, most dogs in good health can handle between 1 and 3 hours of daily walks without breaking a sweat.
It is good to stick to a daily plan but if your schedule is tight, you can balance your diary to set aside some time across 5 days of the week.
Make sure to adjust the duration of the walk to match your dog’s health status. Don’t expose a sick dog to too intense physical activities.
You can also work it out with your vet for recommendations on how to slot in routine exercises for a sick dog.
Most of the benefits of walking your dog border on creating a happy, healthy, and social furry friend while strengthening your bond.
That simple routine stroll along different paths will make all the difference in how well you bring up your pooch.
And the other good part is that you will also benefit by engaging your dog in this everyday activity.
But before you grab that leash, make sure to know your route beforehand and pack your dog’s supplies to make the experience fun and memorable.