What You Should Know: The Benefits of Dog Walking
Dogs require walks. They need both physical activity and mental stimulation to feel happy and stable.
Of course, getting some exercise outside is also beneficial for us. Hence, we go out every day and go for dog walks.
Aside from the owner's canine responsibilities, the associated health benefits motivate us to keep up with our dog walking routine.
According to a small research conducted by the University of Liverpool, one of the main reasons we walk our dogs is because it makes us healthy and happy.
How Can Walking Maintain My Dog's Health?
Going for a dog walk presents many benefits to your pup's general health and well-being, including:
Weight and Physical Condition
Obesity is a serious health problem, and a cure is simple: burn more calories than you consume.
Both you and your Fluffy Friend can get regular exercise through walking as it helps to keep the pounds off and to burn those extra calories.
Another common health issue is immobility. Even old joints need to function. When sedentary for too long, people and animals become stiff.
Also, walking can keep joints mobile, thereby improving their functionality. While an orthopaedic pillow may help, it's much better to go out and get a dose of fresh air.
Stress and Self-Esteem Management
Stress levels can be lowered on hormonal level by simply being around dogs.
Additionally, our canine friends' unconditional love and nonjudgmental company have numerous advantages for our mental health, including raising our self-esteem.
Urinary and Digestive Health
The digestive system is better regulated with regular walking. Like some people, some dogs prefer to "go" on a regular schedule, so going with your dog on outdoor excursions helps to prevent constipation.
Regular emptying also prevents bladder infections because they are more likely to happen when urine remains in the bladder for extended periods.
What's the Difference Between a Dog Walk vs Pee or Poo Break
Still, getting your doggie to "go" should not be confused with a proper dog walk. Your dog might require significantly more than that, depending on their breed.
For example, the American Kennel Club lists down the following dog breeds that need regular exercise and can help you stay fit:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Border Collie
- Belgian Malinois
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Redbone Coonhound
Also, sporting and herding dogs need their daily dose of workouts.
Longer walks will be necessary for your dog to stretch his muscles, explore the surroundings, and engage in mental stimulation. Without regular exercise, your pup may develop destructive tendencies and anxiety.
Regular dog walks are also great for fostering relationships. As you enjoy this time together, trust and love will grow between you. Just keep your canine on a leash, especially if they’re excitable.
Of course, before starting an exercise program, you should speak with your doctor and your dog's veterinarian. And keep in mind to always have a handy poop scooper in case your fluffball decides to do his business while you're on a dog walk.
Morning Walks vs Evening Walks
Depending on your work schedule or lifestyle, you might not have a choice about when you can take your pooch for a stroll. Still, here are some of the advantages of morning walks and evening walks:
- You and your pup can start the day off with a stroll in the fresh morning air.
- Your pup gets a good amount of your attention even prior to leaving for work.
- Morning walks can give you and your dog's metabolism a boost.
- Early morning walks are cooler for your dog's paws.
If you can't let your pup out in the morning, don't worry because there are still evening stroll advantages:
- Evening walks can help you unwind after a challenging day.
- The roads typically have less traffic.
- A little workout can lead to a night of better sleep for you and your Fluffy Friend.
If you prefer a nighttime stroll, a rechargeable luminous collar helps ensure your dog stays visible even from a distance.
It's essential to stick to the same dog walk schedule daily. Your pooch's paws are temperature-sensitive. In the summer, they risk burning themselves on hot pavements, and in the winter, they risk getting frostbite.
Tips for Dog Walking
Stretching before you begin your daily walk is vital. Aside from avoiding cramps or strained muscles, stretching helps blood circulation. Focus on your arms, back, and front legs.
Make sure to wear the appropriate footwear, clothes, and a hat. If you're going for a walk during the day, sunscreen helps protect your skin. If it's raining, a reflective raincoat can keep your fur baby dry.
Before, during, and after your walk, make sure you and your companion both drink plenty of water. Fill a portable water feeding bottle with water and ice to help with the heat.
You need to take a few things into consideration as you decide how frequently to walk your dog.
- Dog Breed
What dog breed do you have? While we've shared a list of dog breeds that require lots of exercise, some require little exertion.
For instance, Shih Tzus and Pekingese require light walking just to keep them in shape.
It's also vital to note your dog's personality as it influences how much exercise they require, not just their breed.
- Dog Age
Younger dogs, as would be expected, have more energy and may require more activities than older dogs.
Older dogs occasionally have health problems like arthritis, muscle atrophy, or other health concerns that may limit their movement.
It's always best to consult your vet about the best exercise for your pup.
Regardless of breed or age, each dog has individual preferences.
Take your dog for a walk to determine how long they can go without slowing down. Watch how energetically they walk. If he's initially animated and appears to enjoy the walk, there's no need to worry.
However, watch out for signs that your dog is becoming distracted by their surroundings, slowing down, or peeing more. These behaviours will most likely occur 25 to 30 minutes into the stroll. You'd know it's time to return home if your pup is already slowing down.
In addition to observing your Fluffy Friend while you're out walking, do so even after you're back home. Your dog will drink water and pass out for hours if they have overexerted itself. Or they may start limping after waking up from their nap.
If this happens, it would be best to plan a shorter route the next time you go out for a walk.
Your Dog's Tolerance for Exercise
Gauge your dog's exercise tolerance to decide how frequently and for how long to take a walk.
You may start with a 30-minute daily walk. Other dogs may be able to endure up to longer walks or hikes.
However, if your canine has health problems, is overweight, or appears to be having trouble keeping up, you shouldn't force them to go any further.
Check if your furry companion looks exhausted, needs frequent breaks, or is panting heavily.
Increase Your Dog's Tolerance to Exercise
Your dog's exercise tolerance can increase, just like it is for humans. You can gradually lengthen your walks weekly if your vet allows it.
Still, we must stress that you must pay attention when your dog shows exhaustion. You can prevent hurting or injuring your dog by making the increase a gradual one.
Of course, don't forget to reward your pooch with treats when you reach home!
Responsible dog owners should think about the environment too! Consider the following:
- National parks, state parks, or natural reserves may not allow domesticated pets except for guide dogs.
- Easily controllable dogs are allowed in state forests.
- Ask your local council where and when dogs can be off-leash in parks and beaches.
- You are entirely and legally liable as a dog owner for any damage or harm your dog may cause to people, property, or wildlife.
Both you and your dog will benefit from regular exercise, which can be a lot of fun too. Nothing keeps you motivated like an exercise Fluffy Friend standing by the door with a tail wagging! Then again, don't overdo it. Make sure that your pup’s enjoying himself too!
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