January is Walk Your Pet Month, and the perfect time to kick off your New Year’s resolutions by heading out for some fresh air with your four legged friends! From bonding and social benefits to boosting your health and mood, daily walks are beneficial to both you and your dog.
For your pet: While every dog’s exercise needs are different (based on size, breed, age, and general health), a daily walk helps prevent obesity, preserves muscle tone, and improves joint function. If your pet is overweight, a daily walk can help them shed excess pounds. Start off with slow, short walks and if your pet has any trouble breathing, be sure to contact us. Daily exercise also helps regulate your pet’s digestive and urinary health, preventing constipation and painful bladder infections.
For you: Whether your 2019 resolution is to be more active or reduce stress, walking your dog can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your muscles and bones, lower your blood pressure, and relieve stress and anxiety.
For your pet: Socialization is essential for your dog to become healthy and well-adjusted, and exploring the neighborhood or teaming up with a friend and their dog is a great place to start.
Begin with short, frequent walks and give your dog plenty of opportunities to enjoy their environment. As your dog is exposed to other people and pets, he will become more social with reduced anxiety and fearfulness. Giving your dog a chance to burn off excess energy prevents aggressive or destructive behavior at home, and even helps your pet sleep better!
For you: Hitting the trail (or the road!) with your furry family members is your chance to meet your neighbors, meet other pets, and even boost your self-esteem! Daily walks help strengthen the bond you have with your pet, building trust, confidence, and nurturing the relationship.
Master the dog walk
Stay ahead of your dog to demonstrate that you are the pack leader—walk with purpose, and demonstrate confident body language. Use a short leash to communicate with and guide your dog, and keep your dog beside you or slightly behind you during the walk. As your dog responds, reward his positive behavior with a small retreat to reinforce good behaviors.
Carry bags for cleaning up after your pet, and don’t forget to bring along some water so that you both stay hydrated! If you’re walking before sunrise, late in the afternoon, or after dark, use a lighted leash and collar for your pet and wear light colored or reflective clothing so that you can both be seen by drivers, cyclists, and other dog walkers. Get moving today and your pet will thank you!