No Products in the Cart
We all know that our dogs need walks. They need exercise, as well as mental stimulation, to be content and stable. Of course, it doesn’t hurt us to get some outdoor physical exercise, as well. So every day, we leash our dogs up and hit the pavement or the trail. But it isn’t just our sense of responsible dog ownership and the health benefits that get us (and keep us) walking. A small study. by a researcher at the University of Liverpool found that a prime motivation for walking our dogs is that it makes us happy. And why does it make us happy? Because we believe it makes our dogs happy, too.
Dog owners enjoy numerous health and social benefits by walking their dog a few times a week. Benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles and bones (built up by walking regularly), and decreased stress.
A regular walk is vitally important for your pet's health too. Obesity in pets is associated with a number of medical complaints including osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and insulin resistance.
Most dogs need to be walked at least once each day, though some dogs, particularly very active dogs, may require more. The breed of dog you have, as well as its level of fitness and age, will also determine how long and how vigorous your walk should be.
A walk can make a dog very happy. They love to check out the sights and smells and will really look forward to spending time with you. A dog that doesn't receive sufficient exercise can easily become bored or destructive.
Dogs get to smell interesting things, check out the sights, and spend time with their owners. And, the bonding, exercise, and connecting with nature raises our spirits, too. The research was conducted using interviews and personal written materials from a small group of dog owners. It revealed that they were motivated to continue walks because they felt their dogs were enjoying it. Their motivation decreased if the dog seemed too old or too lazy to walk regularly, or was misbehaving. The study found that, although dog owners described the walks as “for the dog,” their responses showed that the dog’s needs aligned with their own. Their happiness was contingent on believing that the dog was feeling happiness and enjoyment.
Research studies from around the world have found that pets may offer health benefits to their owners, including:
Remember, too, that a sedentary pooch can quickly become an overweight one, and that brings potential health problems with it. Even if your dog is active inside the home, he or she still needs another outlet for pent-up energy. You’ll benefit from having a well-exercised dog, as tired dogs tend to behave better, and you’ll help your pet avoid unnecessary weight gain!
When walking your dog, consider it a training opportunity. Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash, so you’ll have to teach your dog how to follow your lead. On these walks, you can begin teaching commands like, “sit,” “stay,” and “heel,” especially if you take treats along to use during the process.
Exercise needs are based on your dog's age, breed, size, and overall health, but a good rule of thumb is you should spend at least 30 minutes every day on an activity with your dog. Younger dogs and dogs bred for sports or herding activities may need much more.
If your dog has a yard to play in, walking isn’t the only form of exercise available. However, don’t expect your dog to create their own exercise routine just because you’ve put them outside. Dogs don’t self-entertain, so if you want to tire your pet out, play catch or fetch! Find more ideas on what activities you and your dog can do together in The Animal Foundation’s Guide to Your Dog’s Play Time and Activities.
If you’re at work all day, consider taking your dog to doggie daycare, hiring a dog walker or asking a friend to take your dog out during those hours. Your pet will enjoy the company, and you’ll come home to a happier dog waiting to greet you.
Ready to get out of the house with your four-legged friend? With this insight, you’ll never look at a walk with your dog the same way again! Don’t have a dog of your own to walk? Volunteer with The Animal Foundation and help enrich the lives of our pawsome shelter pooches.