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The Benefits of Daily Dog Walking
If you're like most people, one of your New Year's resolutions is to exercise more and maintain fitness. But have you considered how daily dog walking can benefit your dog and yourself?
We all know that exercise is good for our health. It’s no different for dogs; daily exercises can have many advantages for your canine friend.
Even when the weather is cold (as is the case in January), your dog still needs regular exercise. In fact, January is Walk Your Dog Month, so don't let the chilly weather keep you from exercising your dog and adventuring!
Why Should You Walk Your Dog daily?
Daily dog walking has several health benefits, including a longer lifespan for your furry companion. There are many reasons pet parents may not be walking their dogs daily; being unaware of the numerous benefits it provides can be a contributing factor.
Therefore, before you decide that letting your dog out in the backyard is a sufficient solution for daily outings, consider these benefits of daily dog walking:
Daily Dog Walking Helps in Weight Loss and Body Fitness
Obesity is a concern not only for people, but for pets as well. Recent statistics show that about 56% of dogs are overweight or obese in America.
Letting your dog become obese can lead to serious health issues such as diabetes mellitus, arthritis, hypertension, and heart disease, among many others. Being overweight or obese can also reduce your dog’s lifespan by years.
Luckily, walking your dog daily in combination with a proper diet can prevent these conditions and ensure your dog is healthy.
Daily dog walking helps dogs burn more calories and shed extra pounds. It is also a great way to keep your dog's joints in good condition.
Dogs who are already on prescription weight management diets - such as Hills Weight Reduction r/d Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food, a diet formulated to support dogs' weight loss - can experience even more weight loss when combined with daily walking.
How far you walk your dog each day will depend on your dog's breed and age. In most cases, young and energetic dogs can endure more walking than seniors.
Consult your veterinarian so they can recommend the best walking program according to your dog's specific needs and capabilities.
In some instances, your vet may also recommend a metabolic diet such as the Hills Metabolic Chicken Flavor Wet Dog Food to help activate your dog's metabolism for effective weight loss.
Remember to bring water and a bowl for your dog when walking in cold or hot weather. You may also want to consider booties when walking in extremely cold weather or on hot pavements.
Strong Joints, Bones, and Muscles
Mobility issues are a common problem in dogs. It is not uncommon for humans to experience these issues as well if they become immobile for too long.
Daily dog walking can help improve joint, bone, and muscle health for both you and your dog.
Physical activity helps strengthen your dog's joints (and yours) which is key to having a healthy lifestyle.
Like us, dogs can suffer from joint pain, especially as they age. This can lead to weakness and a less active life. Regular exercise will help keep your canine friend more active as they age by improving both joint and muscle function.
If your dog has been inactive for a long time, it may be challenging to walk them daily. In that case, you need to consult your veterinarian for advice on how to best walk your dog.
Again, your vet may prescribe a specific diet, such as Hills Metabolic + Mobility Chicken Dry Dog Food, to help improve your dog's ability to walk and kickstart their weight loss journey.
If joint issues are the cause of your dog's immobility issues, your vet may recommend joint treatments like VetClassics Bone & Joint Chewable Tablets for dogs or a prescription pain and anxiety medication like Gabapentin.
Joint treatments and diets help ease pressure on the muscles and joints. This will enable your dog to walk more and improve their bodily function, which will help improve their overall physical fitness.
Improved Mood and Mental Health
Daily walking and exercise have a positive impact on dog and humans alike.
You know how you sleep better and feel less stressed when you exercise regularly? Your pup will experience these benefits as well!
In fact, lack of regular exercise and attention is often one of the reasons why dogs act up or misbehave. A daily walk is a great way to reduce dog anxiety and boredom that comes with inactivity.
Going for walks exposes your dog to wonderful experiences like watching wildlife, seeing other people and pets, exploring new paths, etc., which helps stimulate your dog's mind.
In addition to mental stimulation, daily dog walking helps promote your dog's overall mental and emotional health. Dogs are social beings by nature and need your attention. Walking with your dog provides an opportunity to bond with your dog, which promotes emotional health for both you and your dog.
These prescription medications help treat separation anxiety and other behavioral disorders in dogs, and daily dog walking can help you and your dog see greater and faster improvement.
Promotes Cardiovascular Fitness
Regular dog walking can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for you and your dog.
Daily exercise helps maintain your dog's skeletal and muscular systems to ensure they remain in optimal condition, which is key to better cardiovascular health.
Cardiovascular disease occurs when the heart cannot efficiently pump blood to vital body tissues, which results in high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, or heart failure.
Daily walking can act like a heart health booster that helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Consult your vet about the right amount of time to walk your dog daily to prevent the risk of heart disease.
Daily Walks Can Help Improve Your Dog's Digestive and Urinary Health
In addition to improving cardiovascular, joint, and mental health, daily dog walking can also help improve your dog's digestive and urinary health.
Like us, dogs love schedules and routines. Going out on a schedule and allowing your dog to relieve themselves consistently can help prevent digestive issues such as constipation.
Allowing your pet to relieve itself consistently also helps avoid bladder retention, which could otherwise lead to urinary tract infections.
Walking Can Help Build Your Dog's Confidence
Including daily walks as part of your dog's routine is a great way to increase your dog's confidence.
As stated, dogs love routine and order. Including walks in your dog's daily routine can help give your dog stability and predictability, which are both great for boosting confidence.
Ensuring that fun activities are included in your dog's daily routine will help make your dog happy and confident, which will also translate to you. When your dog is happy, you're happy too!
Dog Walking Can Make Your Dog (and You) More Sociable
By walking your dog, you expose them to different people, other dogs and pets, objects, and situations. These new experiences can help your dog learn better socialization behaviors.
Of course, as a pet parent, you should encourage socialization from the time your dog is a pup. Still, daily walking presents a great opportunity to encourage your dog to keep up with social manners and etiquette.
Walking daily with your dog can make you appear friendlier and more approachable as well.
When going for daily walks with your dog, you might try visiting different neighborhoods and places so your dog can experience different situations and people. This helps break the uncomfortable barrier of meeting and interacting with others.
An Opportunity to Bond with Your Dog
They say a dog is a man's best friend. However, you need to create a great bond with your dog to benefit from this friendship.
Daily walking your dog offers an excellent opportunity for you and your dog to bond. Just like you have memories of the people you have spent quality time with outdoors, your dog will value every minute of the time you spend outdoors together.
Walking your dog opens the door to create long-lasting memories and explore the wonders of nature together. It presents a great opportunity to understand your dog's personality, which is key to a lasting relationship and trust.
So instead of leaving your dog at home alone for extended hours (which can be lonely), have your canine pal accompany you on your adventures when you are able. This will not only help build trust but will also help develop good behaviors.
Benefits of Daily Dog Walking - Wrap Up
Daily physical activity provides many health benefits for both you and your dog. It is a bonus that most dogs love walking, so you will be doing something that your pup enjoys! To get more out of your daily walks, try new routes and bring toys and treats to reward your dog when they learn a new skill.