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The Importance of Walking Your Dog

Posted: 07/18/2022 | BY: Erin Cain | Categories: Behavior , dog , pet care

Like most dog owners, you consider your dog a family member. And just like with any other family member, it’s essential to ensure they get enough exercise. That’s where walking your dog comes in. It’s not only good for your pet physically, but it can also have benefits for both of you mentally and emotionally. Here are some reasons why walking your dog is important and how it can benefit you and your pup.

Walking is healthy for both you and your dog.

Research shows how walking at least half an hour daily can reduce risk factors associated with human heart disease. It also reduces the risk of other illnesses such as diabetes or high cholesterol. When it comes to dog walking, the same health benefits exist for dogs! 

If you want your dog to live a long and happy life, it’s essential that she also has regular opportunities for physical activity. For dogs, healthy physical activity means at least an hour per day devoted to being active, which will help them lead healthy lives free of illness. Some breeds, especially working dogs, may require more than an hour of exercise daily.

Roughly 33% of pup parents report rarely walking their dogs. Additional studies estimate that almost 56% of all dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Sedentary dogs are more likely to become overweight, which can cause various health problems from the hip and joint issues to diabetes to heart disease. Obesity also shortens a dog’s lifespan.

Walking your dog regularly means she reaps the physical health benefits: improved body condition and weight, healthy joints, and better digestive and urinary health. Keeping your pooch moving daily will help keep her healthy her whole life. The health benefits of dog walking cannot be overstated, so schedule walking time with your dog immediately.

Walking boosts mental health and emotional health.

It’s common for dogs to get bored and destructive when they are stuck indoors and don’t have enough time outside. Walking your pup each day can help keep her busy so that she doesn’t resort to destructive behaviors in your home, such as digging and chewing. A long walk will do wonders in boosting your dog’s mental health, and eventually, sated and quiet through exposure to sounds, smells, and even other dogs and people.

Mental stimulation in dogs is just as crucial to their happiness as physical exercise. Dogs need regular exercise to burn off excess energy, and dog walking is a perfect way to achieve that goal. Otherwise, dogs can become frustrated and turn to destructive actions to channel that extra energy.

Walking with your dog improves your mental health, too! Studies show that dog walking decreases stress in dog owners and reduces their chances of becoming obese. Dog walking can lower your weight by 5% and your dog’s by 15%, so grab that leash and get moving!

Walking provides training opportunities.

A daily walk provides a habitual space and time in which you can work on training your dog. Leash training is an excellent way for you and your dog to try new commands in an environment where it’s more difficult than usual for them to focus on you. Work on basic commands and teach your dog not to pull on the leash.

Dog walking provides the perfect opportunity to teach your pup how to heel. It will keep your dog close by and safe while walking together. It’s a good idea to bring some training treats with you when going on a walk so your pup knows that if she listens, something rewarding is on the way.

Walking strengthens your relationship with your dog.

Like many people, pet owners have busy and demanding lives, so much so that we sometimes forget to take time to check in on our relationships with our dogs. Leave the earbuds and phone at home or in your pocket when you walk your dog. Focus on your pup: what is she doing, and how is she feeling? Then, follow her lead. Live in the moment and be present during this time. Experience the sights and sounds with your dog, and practice gratitude for your connection with this exceptional pet.

Walking with your pup lets her build trust in you and confidence in herself when interacting with the world outdoors. There is no better way to explore the world and create a bond than by taking your dog with you on walks. New places, new friends, and an endless list of adventures await!

Walking promotes good potty habits.

Walking can help regulate your dog’s gastrointestinal and excretory systems. When you provide them with a routine walk every day, this helps prevent constipation and keeps the bladder functioning properly as well.

Aside from preventing accidents in the house, regular walks promote healthy elimination and lower the chances of constipation and urinary tract infections. Additionally, potty habits are about more than just eliminating. Dogs use feces and urine to mark territory and leave messages, or “pee-mails,” to other dogs who walk by that spot. The canine anal glands release a musky smell if a dog is frightened, and that’s an important message to any other pups passing through that area. Urine marking tells other canines about your dog’s gender, health, and age.

Walking allows you and your dog to explore.

Dogs love to explore the world around them, and new experiences keep their bodies and minds active and engaged. Taking your dog on an adventurous walk together can build her confidence in unfamiliar areas. She is less likely to be scared when faced with strange places or circumstances.

Taking your dog on walks in different locations is a great idea because it will keep her from getting bored. Each new sight or sound your dog encounters is something worth exploring with all her senses. Dog owners who spend time with their dogs outside become not only excellent dog walkers but also great exercise partners for their dogs.

Walk your happy dog confidently with pet insurance.

Dog walking offers your furkid many health benefits both now and in the future. As dogs age, health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease become more likely. However, a dog who receives daily exercise is more likely to live longer and with fewer medical issues. Even so, accidents happen sometimes. Don’t be caught off guard when they do. Fill out a free quote for dog health insurance through Pet Insurance Review to protect your dog and save money today.

References:

  1. Westgarth, C., Knuiman, Christian, H.E. (2016). Understanding how dog’s encourage and motivate walking: Cross-sectional findings from RESIDE. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27682237/
  2. Pet Obesity Prevention. (2021). National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Retrieved from https://petobesityprevention.org/
  3. Brown, B., Jensen, W. (2020). Dog Ownership and Walking: Perceived and Audited Walkability and Activity Correlates. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/4/1385
  4. Walker, N. (2017). Loose Leash Walking: Training Your Dog Not to Pull. Retrieved from https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/loose-leash-walking-training-your-dog-not-to-pull/
  5. Pearson, A. (n.d.). How to boost your dog’s confidence on a walk. Retrieved from https://www.we-love-pets.co.uk/we-love-pets-news/how-to-boost-your-dogs-confidence-on-a-walk
  6. Roberts-Grey, G. (2019). Understanding your pup’s peculiar potty habits. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2019/05/18/go-time/3704955002/
  7. Farricelli, A. (2016). Involve All Senses In Your Dog’s Environmental Enrichment. Retrieved from https://dogdiscoveries.com/curiosity/dogs-environmental-enrichment

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