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Say that word just once and your four legged friend’s ears prick up. Before long, they are tugging at the leash to go outside.
So they’re keen for a run around?
Well, yes. But anyone who has owned a dog will know there is a holy aura surrounding the ritual of the morning constitutional for your pet.
The fact is, walkies are more than just exercise for your pooch. There’s a load of other reasons why it’s so important to them.
In this piece, we uncover all the reasons to walk your dog every day!
Table Of Contents
- Why Is It Important To Walk Your Dog?
- The Benefits Of Dog Walking – For Your Dog
- How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?
- The Social Benefits Of Dog Walking For You
- The Physical Benefits Of Dog Walking – For You
- Is Walking Your Dog Good Exercise?
- The Benefits Of Dog Walking Everyday
- Can Walking Your Dog Help You Lose Weight?
- Is There A Right Way To Walk Your Dog?
- How To Get The Best Out Of Walking Your Dog
- Some Dog Walking Statistics
- …Lead The Way!
Alright, let’s get this pooch patrol underway!
Why Is It Important To Walk Your Dog?
Dogs need to walk in the same way that fish need to swim and birds need to sing.
It is so much more than just an exercise for your pet. However, it is still a vital part in maintaining a dog’s fitness and health.
So let’s just run down the list of reasons that walking is so important to your dog’s health.
The Benefits Of Dog Walking – For Your Dog
- It’s Instinctive Your dog just knows he needs to walk, even if he doesn’t realize it. In the wild, your dog would walk for miles each day.
- Their Muscles Need Exercise If your dog is not walked frequently (more than three days elapse) then their muscles may start to suffer. Dogs should be walked regularly to prevent wastage and lack of muscle tone.
- They Need To Burn Fat If your dog is cooped up all day long, without being walked they are in danger of storing fat and becoming overweight.
- They Can Help Their Joints Frequent walks can help prevent joint problems and conditions such as arthritis, which can afflict dogs just the same as people!
- It Helps Maintain Their Overall Health Walking helps maintain your dog’s overall physical health, including looking after their hearts.
- It Makes Them Happy As if you needed any better reason to walk your pet – it puts them in a better mood. A dog is more relaxed and contented when it has completed a walk, than it was beforehand.
- It Helps Them Become Social A dog that interacts with the world, including people and other dogs, learns how to be social. Dogs need this vital social interaction as much as humans do. Depriving them of it can harm their social development. Social development is everything to training a dog and setting the standards of good behavior.
- It Keeps Them “Regular” The chances are that you know an awful lot more than you want to about your dog’s toilet habits! So, if you are experiencing difficulties in this area, then you’ll be relieved to know that regular walkies helps to keep them ‘regular’. This can make all the difference between a clean and pleasant home and discovering unwanted ‘surprises’ around the house!
- It Builds A Bond Between Owner And Dog Finally, walkies are a special time, where your dog will build a bond with you as their companion and friend. Don’t squander this valuable opportunity to bond with your dog.
Now, on to the next pressing canine question.
How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?
This is the million dollar question, but unfortunately, there is no one answer to it.
Just like you, your dog is an individual and will require a different level of walking to another dog.
But a lot will depend on the breed and size of the animal.
Some breeds, such as pugs or bulldogs (the short nosed breeds) can have problems with breathing, so a shorter walk is best.
For a border collie, you are probably not going to get away with anything less than a vigorous workout.
The issue of how much a dog needs to be walked should be considered before choosing that cute looking Siberian huskie pup!
Generally, a larger dog will need more exercise, but some smaller, energetic dogs can take a lot of walking as well. The nature of the dog as well as their age also come into this.
It is difficult to generalize, as it could be anything from half an hour’s gentle pootle around the park, to a two hour marathon, depending on your pet’s needs.
But we suggest most dogs require as a minimum two walks of fifteen minutes a day – although some dogs may manage with just one walk a day.
The Social Benefits Of Dog Walking For You
It’s not only your dog who benefits from regular walking with a four legged friend. It’s you as well. Here are the benefits to look forward to from regularly walking your dog.
- Reducing Isolation Loneliness can strike anyone – even in this day and age, people living in large cities can be lonelier than ever.
- Dog walking gets you out there and socializing, not only with your dog (a good thing in itself) but also it helps bring you into meetings with other people and a chance to strike up conversations. If you want them! Helping to combat loneliness is what makes dogs such good pets, for anyone, but especially for anyone who lives alone and is facing social isolation.
- Improved Mental Health When you reduce isolation, your mood becomes elevated and this has a positive effect on your mental health. Frequent dog walking and social interactions, as well as experiencing nature, are all beneficial to maintain good mental health.
- Busting Stress When you take your dog for a walk, it is a chance to unwind and beat the stress of the day. This is what makes it such a great start – and end – to every day!
The Physical Benefits Of Dog Walking – For You
The physical benefits of walking your dog are not just for your dog. It is also good for human health as well.
Just some of the things that a regular thirty minute walk can have, even only three times a week are;
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Help With Depression
- Help To Build Lower Body Strength
- Helps With Diabetes To Control Blood Sugar
- Helps With Muscular And Joint Pain
- Helps With Cardiovascular Conditions
There is more than just this, regular walking can help to energize you, making you feel more awake and mentally alert.
Is Walking Your Dog Good Exercise?
Walking your dog is a good exercise for both you and your pet.
Just how demanding it is, depends on the terrain you choose, the speed you go at, the length of the walk and the frequency you walk for.
Think about including hills and other different terrain in your daily walks, where possible.
To boost your exercise potential, speed up or even run with your dog.
Always check with your doctor and veterinarian that this is a suitable exercise for you and your dog – starting gradually and building the regime upwards slowly.
The Benefits Of Dog Walking Everyday
So, you’ve seen the benefits that walking your dog bring to both your dog and to you.
However, you may be wondering if it is really necessary to do it every single day.
The answer is yes. Tempting as it is to skimp on the daily walks, you really shouldn’t.
Unfortunately, some dog owners rarely walk their dogs and think that leaving them to run around the backyard will suffice.
As long as they have allowed them to ‘do their business’ this is enough.
Newsflash: it will not. If you’re not in a position to walk your dog every day, then get a cat!
If you have read this far then you should know that there is a lot more to walkies than simply, well, walking.
However, a lot of people think doing this a few times a week will do.
Getting into a daily routine is always better. It means establishing a set time to go out in. You will get used to it and so will your dog.
Ideally, this should happen twice a day, but we know that might not always be possible for everyone.
The benefits of a routine when it comes to walking are of course, good for both yours and your dog’s health. But you will also become more familiar with the neighborhood and everyone in it.
Once you have a proper routine established, it will be easier to keep to it and not give up the minute the weather turns bad. Because, by then, your dog is unlikely to let you duck out of taking him for a walk, just because it’s raining!
Now what about dogs and weight loss?
Can Walking Your Dog Help You Lose Weight?
Studies have shown that regular dog walking is better than going to a gym. Researchers at the University of Missouri proved it worked for weight loss more than either a diet or pumping iron did.
Of course, to get the most out of your walks, you should walk frequently and briskly. But if you’re not able to go fast, don’t stress – any walking is better than none.
As an example, a person who weighs 150 pounds can burn 135 calories during a brisk half an hour walk. Anything additional to that is a bonus.
And why is walking the dog so much better than going to the gym? Well, because you’ll probably find it harder to make excuses to get out of doing it – your dog simply won’t let you ignore him!
So if you want to lose weight, don’t take out an expensive gym membership – reach for the dog lead instead!
Is There A Right Way To Walk Your Dog?
This might come as a surprise for you, but there’s actually a right way to walk your dog. Which means, yes, you could be doing it all wrong!
To find out, ask yourself this question; who is in pole position during your walks – you or him?
Because if it is him, then you’re doing it wrong!
To walk your faithful companion correctly, you should be in front of your dog, not the other way around.
Owners who are “led” by their pooches are signalling that they are not in control – their dog is. It should go without saying that this is not something that you want!
How To Get The Best Out Of Walking Your Dog
Make the most from your dog walking by incorporating some of our tips into your daily constitutional;
- Try walking briskly. Going faster increases your heartrate and this is good for both your calorie burn and your body in general.
- Vary your speed. We know going fast all the time is hard, the good news is you don’t need to. Slowing down and speeding up again is a good exercise for both you and your dog.
- Take time to think. It can be hard to get the time to think properly during the working day. Getting out and about helps the old grey matter battle whatever issue needs attention.
- Or… bring headphones. As great as walking your dog is, you aren’t going to get a lot of conversation from him! Because you may find your mind wandering, there are things you can do to stay focused and make the most of your time outside.
- Using headphones, you could listen to an audiobook, to entertain you on your travels. Alternatively, you might choose to listen to your favorite music. There are even people who have learnt languages whilst dog walking!
- Walk with a friend. Who said walking the dog had to be done in solitude? Why not ask a friend or companion to come along with you, so you can chat while you get some exercise!
Some Dog Walking Statistics
- MONDAY; this is the day owners are the most likely to avoid going for walkies!
- 93%: The number of owners who report lower stress levels in their dog after a walk.
- 5%: Dog owners who consider their dog a family member!
- 70%: The percentage of dogs who are notably happier after a walk than before one.
- 57%: The number of owners that miss walkies at least once a week.
- 73.5%: This percentage of owners like to hear their dog being praised more than they like chocolate!
- 8 HOURS AND 54 MINUTES: the length of time that the average dog owner walks each week.
- RAIN, COLD AND SNOW: the reasons dog owners give for skipping walkies.
- ONE IN FIVE: the proportion of dog owners who admit to treats and bribery, when they are unable to take their pet for a walk.
- 90 MILLION: the number of pet dogs in the USA!
- 8-10 HOURS: the maximum length of time you should leave a dog in the house, without being walked.
- $15-$30: the amount professional dog walkers charge per twenty or thirty minute walk.
…Lead The Way!
By now, we hope we have convinced you of the need to walk your pooch each and every day.
By following our tips, both you and your dog should be able to get the most out of your daily walks and soon be feeling healthier, happier and more relaxed!