Walking your canine friend is beneficial to both you and your dog. Besides the indispensable health benefits that we will discuss shortly, walking your pet gives the two of you extra bonding time. Your pooch will feel less lonely, and this ultimately improves their emotional and mental health.
How Often Should I Walk my Dog?
There is no specific guideline that works for every pet. Some dogs may require more walking time, while others are okay with just a short once-daily walk. It all comes down to factors like age, breed, and level of fitness. The most active dogs may even require several walks a day.
What Are The Benefits Of Walking Your Pet?
1. Improves Physical Fitness
Obesity is a serious issue both in humans and pets. According to a blog post, the rate of obesity in adults stood at 42% in 2020, with no significant differences between genders and age groups. And as the rate of obesity goes up, medical conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and diabetes also increase.
Meanwhile, a 2019 report from the Banfield Pet Hospital declared pet obesity an epidemic.
The report shows that around 1 in every 3 dogs and cats are overweight, and the numbers are expected to go even higher.
Therefore, walking with your pooch is one of the best ways of keeping both of you physically fit. And the good thing about walking with your pet is it creates accountability. Pets know when it’s time to go for a walk. You will always see their excitement as the hour approaches, which would signal it’s time to grab your dog harnesses and go out for a stroll. They will be your accountability partners since you will never want to see the somber look in their eyes when you disappoint them. The consistency should help both of you meet the daily recommended walking distance.
2. Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Did you know that one person succumbs every 36 seconds due to cardiovascular disease? That’s according to the Center for Disease Control. They report that around 655,000 Americans die from heart conditions every year. These numbers are frightening.
Regular exercises reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions like stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, and coronary heart disease. These exercises also boost the overall health of your puppy by preventing obesity.
While the CDC recommends about 20 minutes of physical activities per day, dogs may require slightly more exercise. So help them out by taking long walks. You can also include some backyard plays, jogging, running, etc. And all these are activities that pets love, so they will enjoy every second of it.
3. Promotes Mental Health
Dog walking is good for mental health. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve your mood. That’s why many people, including veterans and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, are encouraged to have and spend time with pets.
In a practical way, a puppy can encourage you to get out of your stressful bubble and go for a soothing evening stroll. This saves you from overwhelming thoughts. It also increases the chances of meeting other pet lovers and making friends. It is activities like these that can help you overcome sadness, stress, anxiety, and depression.
Behavioral scientists also report that taking care of a pet encourages you to take care of yourself.
4. Improves Sleep Quality
Regular physical exercises are good for quality sleep. I’m sure you’ve noticed your pup always collapses to the flow and takes a sweet long nap after every intense playing session. Humans, too, sleep better when they engage in physical activities like long walks.
The exercises make it easier to fall asleep. So no more endless hours of staring at the ceiling. They also increase the amount and quality of sleep. Cases of spending almost the entire night turning around in bed will reduce significantly.
High sleep quality improves other aspects of your everyday life. For instance, it helps the brain rest and reboot, which improves cognitive functions like concentration and focus. Adequate sleep is also good for overall mental health.
The same benefits apply to your walking buddy as well. They will sleep better and look healthier and happier when they are awake.
5. Helps Them To Socialize
Dog walking is an excellent opportunity for socialization. You and your friend will interact with other people and pets helping their symptoms of anxiety. Your pooch will find other male and female dogs to run around with. They will also interact with other humans. This is good for their mental health.
The walking also allows you to meet new friends. Love stories of couples who met while walking their pets aren’t that rare.
Many places accommodate people and their pets. Areas where you can release and let them run around with other puppies as you bond with fellow pet owners. Do some research and identify these places.
With good training, you shouldn’t have a hard time calling your pooch back. In fact, after doing this for some time, they will always know when it is time to go home.
Dog Walking Tips
Now that you know the benefits of walking your dog, here are a few tips to improve the experience:
- Aim for consistency. This is important in the first few weeks, but it should get easier once your pet gets into the routine. You can start with 30-minute walks at least 5 days per week.
- Use the leash whenever necessary, especially when you are in a public space. You can contact your local councils to get a list of leash-free areas.
- Mind the environment. Carry a plastic bag to clean after your pet.
- It is advisable to desex your pet.
- Ensure the dog has a tag for easy identification.
- Carry some water for both you and your buddy.
It is very clear that both you and your pet can benefit hugely from regular walks. It is best if you can walk them yourself for bonding purposes. However, if your lifestyle doesn’t allow it, consider getting a professional pet walker.