January is officially Walk Your Dog Month! For us dog owners, it is of course “walk your dog month” every month, but this is a time in particular to take stock of all the reasons why it is beneficial to get out there with your little canine friend as much as possible. There are so many benefits to taking your dog for a walk, both for the well-being of your dog and for your own well-being; we’ve taken a minute to give you a breakdown of these benefits.
Health benefits for your dog
It should almost go without saying that taking your dog for a walk is a great boost to your dog’s health, but it is after all one of the primary reasons why dog walking is so important – so it should not be forgotten!
Just as obesity can be a very serious problem in humans, it can also be an issue for dogs too. Therefore, going for regular walks with your dog can be crucial in minimising the risk of many of the issues which are associated with canine obesity, such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and insulin resistance.
Taking your dog on a walk around once a day, or about 5 times per week, should do the trick, though the frequency with which you take your dog for a walk does depend on the breed, age and health of your pet.
Making your dogs happy
It should also be said that the health benefits to your dog are not just physical, but also mental. Whatever breed of dog you have, they will always get something out of being outdoors, taking in the sights and sounds, stretching their legs, and being free out in the open fields.
Their love of going on walks will make them thrilled each time you take them out, meaning that your own relationship with your dog will grow stronger. Not only that, but daily walks will also get rid of any energy which otherwise might build up and become destructive if they are not allowed enough physical exercise.
Health benefits for the dog owner
It is really important to note that many of these benefits which applied to dogs also apply to humans. After all, going out for a walk is hugely beneficial to humans as well from a health point of view. Having a daily walk will serve as a useful bit of exercise which will help you get through your recommended 10,000 steps.
On top of that, if you can get out to some fields or a park for your walk, then it is all the better. There have been many studies which show that walking through a green, natural environment can reduce stress and even reduce the likelihood of depression.
As well as heightening a positive mindset, taking 30 minutes or more to walk through nature without focusing on your smartphone has been shown to increase memory capacity and attention span.
Benefits for communities
If there are more people out and about in their local area, then there are more people who have a chance to get to know their neighbours and their local community.
All in all, this means that healthy group of dog walkers in your area means a healthy, wholesome community, where people still have a strong connection in an increasingly disconnected society.
Dog walk checklist
So, we’ve gone through some of the main reasons why dog walking is so great – now it is time for you to get out there! But, before you do, we thought we would put together a quick checklist for you so that you have everything you need to do it right:
- A good stretch beforehand: it is important to be limber so as not to pull any muscles once you are out with your furry friend.
- Your dog leash, plastic bags/a poop scoop and good walking shoes: you need to bring all the right kit for the job.
- Lots of water and weather appropriate clothing: this is key especially in warmer conditions, when you and your dog need to keep hydrated before, during and after the walk.
- Check it is not too hot for walking: if it is the summer, you will want want to be heading out first thing in the morning or in the evening.
- Make sure your dog is wearing their name tag: in case they do any over-excited exploring, you will want your dog to be immediately identifiable so that you can find them as soon as possible.
- Supervise your dog around young children/make sure they are on a leash till you get to a safe area: when you are out and about, you will want to keep your dog under control in any busy areas so as not to cause disruption.