Life gets crazy. And it’s tempting to take your dog out for a quick potty break instead of a leisurely walk. But walking your dog is so much more than just a potty break! It’s a chance for your pup to socialize, get mental stimulation, and burn some calories!
In general, dogs benefit from a minimum of thirty minutes of physical activity a day, although closer to two hours is recommended. It’s a great idea to break up this time into two or three walks a day. With consistent walks, you’ll be rewarded with a happy, healthier pup!
It’s Good for their Physical Health
According to Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), approximately 25-30% of dogs in the U.S. are obese, and 40-45% are overweight. Yet, obesity is the most common preventable disease in dogs. In addition to burning calories, regular walks lower blood pressure and strengthen bones and muscles. When your dog has a chance to burn energy on walks, they are less likely to engage in unwanted, destructive behaviors. Like they say, a tired pup is a good pup!
Human Benefit: On average, a person will burn approximately 100 calories during a 30-minute walk with their pup!
It’s Good for Their Mental Health
Just like us, dogs get bored. Although the same fenced yard can be fun for your dog once in a while, it’s a good idea to keep exercising their minds as well as their bodies! Walks provide the mental stimulation they need and crave. New sights, smells, and sounds will all keep your dog engaged and happy.
But walking my dog causes him anxiety.
Even dogs with anxiety should be encouraged to go on daily walks. In fact, it is especially important that a dog with anxiety goes on walks. To keep anxiety levels down, keep the walk predictable. Stick with the same route and keep the walk short. The quieter, the better.
Although animals tend to not want to eat in a state of fear, encourage your pup to enjoy their favorite treat along the way. Because licking is soothing to dogs, a lickable treat is best! Walks will become enjoyable for your dog, and one walk at a time your dog will overcome their anxieties!
Human Benefit: Walking your dog is good for your mental health too, by reducing stress, decreasing loneliness, and connecting with nature!
It’s Good for Socialization
Socialization is an important part of your dog’s life, and there is no better time to socialize than on a walk! Socializing with other dogs and humans teaches your dog appropriate behaviors around humans and other dogs. Each time your dog has a social interaction, they will build more and more confidence, reducing fear and anxieties.
A walk with your dog also provides a special time for you to bond. Walking together will build trust and strengthen your happy relationship.
Human bonus: Whether looking to make a friend or land a date, walking your dog increases human socialization too!
A Helping Hand
Of course, the amount of exercise your dog needs will be based on their age, breed, and physical condition.
If you’re at work all day, find yourself too bogged down, or are out of town, don’t skip your pup’s walk! Consider hiring a professional dog walker. Your dog will thank by rewarding you with a happier, healthier, and well-behaved dog.