New Year’s resolution time has become a distant memory for some already, but it is not too late to refocus. In 2019 more than half of 2,000 people surveyed listed “exercise more” as their resolution. One great way for pet parents to exercise more is to take their doggo on daily walks.
Not only does the puppy parent end up exercising more, but the pup also benefits. From better weight management and joint health to improved mental and emotional health, there are a ton of advantages to walking every day. Before you make any drastic changes to your doggie’s exercise routine, make sure you have a conversation with your veterinarian to confirm that he or she is healthy enough for consistent walks.
Top 5 benefits of daily doggie walks
1. Weight and body condition
Burning more calories than being consumed is a significant way to combat obesity, which can be a major complication. Regular exercise, like walking, is an excellent way to burn those excess calories and keep the pounds off both you and your dog.
2. Joint health
Immobility is another common health problem doggos can experience. Joints, including those of senior dogs, need consistent movement. People and pets get stiff when immobile for too long, and keeping joints moving improves their function.
3. Digestive and urinary health
Puppies on a schedule are much happier puppies. One reason is that some prefer to relieve themselves on a schedule, and providing your dog with routine trips outdoors can prevent constipation. Also, bladder infections are more likely to occur when urine sits in the bladder for long periods of time, so regular trips outside, including walks, keep that part healthy as well.
4. Mental health
Walks are a great way to avoid having a bored dog, which easily converts to a destructive dog. Walking exercises the mind as well as the body. Watching wildlife, exploring new paths, seeing other people with their pets, and sniffing the ground are great mental stimulations for your pup that he can’t get in the same fenced-in yard all the time. Walking also releases excess energy and helps dogs sleep better at night and be less annoying to you.
5. Emotional bond
Your puppy craves your attention because you are the center of your dog’s world. A walk is the best way for him to get your undivided attention. Spending one-on-one time with your dog deepens your connection. It helps deter annoying, attention-seeking behaviors such as excessive barking, whining, or getting into mischief.
Getting started with daily dog walks
Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Begin by making a plan that is reasonable and doesn’t overwhelm you and your pup. Designing a consistent walking schedule that doesn’t over-exert your body or add unwanted stress to your busy schedule will help you remain on point, and including your dog adds motivation to get going.
One suggestion is to start slowly by taking a couple of 10-minute walks around the neighborhood. When you and your dog are ready, increase the time and distance. Try walking for 30 minutes each day. You could take 10-minute walks in the morning before work and add a 20-minute jaunt when you get home. On weekends, vary the routine, perhaps doing three 10 minute sessions. Regardless of the schedule, work towards 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Varying the routine will help keep the walks enjoyable. Try walking in different areas that provide visual interest for both you and your dog. The goal is to keep sacred the scheduled walks making them a priority that you don’t want to write-off. Another way to stay motivated and on task is to use a walking or exercise tracking phone app. Reaching goals and seeing the numbers provides additional inspiration to walk further and provides personal gratification for your efforts when you reach your goal.
It won’t take long for your dog to get used to the routine and may remind you when it’s time to go for a walk. If you have to work late or have a day trip where your pup will have to go without a walk, contact us! We would love to keep your pup on schedule and give him the companionship he’s used to and needs. Having a professional dog walking service to supplement mid-day walks when you are working or too busy is the perfect balance between exercise and socialization with new people and places!
Of course, a dog walking service will never replace the undivided attention he gets when his favorite human (you!) walks him. 😉
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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