Getting outside in the fresh air for a brisk walk is an excellent way to boost your health—and your dog’s, too. At East Sacramento Veterinary Center, we encourage all our pet parents to take their dogs out for a daily walk. Once you read about the benefits of walking your dog, you’ll see why!
Why It Is Important to Walk Your Dog
Does your dog go wild with excitement when he sees you grab the leash? A daily walk doesn’t just benefit your dog’s physical health: it provides them with emotional benefits, too. Spending time at your side among the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors is blissful for your furry companion. It’s mentally stimulating for her, too!
Walking your dog every day also helps prevent obesity. This condition can increase your pet’s risk of arthritis, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, to name a few.
Setting up a walking routine can be challenging, especially if your dog isn’t leash trained. Here are 5 tips to get you both moving.
1. Leash Training
Teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash will make your daily strolls infinitely more enjoyable for both of you. All you need is a harness or collar, a 4- to 6-foot leash, and a pocket stuffed with Lassie’s favorite treats. A huge scoop of patience helps, too.
Hold the leash loosely and stash a handful of treats in your left hand. Start walking your pup, but stop the moment she starts pulling. Call your dog back to you, flashing a treat to help lure her back. But don’t give it to her just yet! Walk a few paces with her at your side and then give her a treat.
Practice doing this every day, multiple times a day, until your dog walks on a loose leash.
2. Make Time for Sniffing and Pee-Mail
One of a dog’s favorite things to do on a walk is sniffing the many exciting new scents—and then pee or poop in an especially intriguing area. This is their way of reading and responding to messages left by other animals.
Remember that dogs can smell about 10,000 times better than we can. It’s their primary way of exploring the world. If you make sure to leave time for sniffing, pooping, and peeing on your daily walks, your dog will get to reap the full benefits of that exploration time.
3. Clean Up After Your Dog
Cleaning up your dog’s poop does more than make the neighbors happy. It’s also a health and safety measure. Dog feces can contain roundworms, E. coli, giardia, salmonella, and hookworms. These organisms can affect other animals and humans. They can also negatively impact the soil and water.
So grab a doggy bag—or four—and you’ll be prepared to pick up that poo!
4. Bring Water for Your Dog
Just like humans, dogs get thirsty when they exercise. And no, you don’t want them drinking out of that pond or creek you pass on your daily nature walk. Instead, bring fresh, clean water in a water bottle and hook a collapsible water bowl to the leash.
Stop and offer water every half hour or so—or more frequently if it’s hot outside.
5. Wear Reflective Gear
If you frequently walk your dog in the early morning or evening, it’s crucial to make the two of you as visible to drivers as possible. Get a reflective vest for you and one for your dog, too. These inexpensive pieces of equipment can quite literally save you and Fido’s life.
Most Importantly of All…Have Fun!
A daily walk comes with loads of benefits for you and your dog. Instead of viewing it as a chore, see it as the perfect time for the two of you to bond and decompress. To learn more about why exercise is important for dogs, reach out to the team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center. We can also see your dog for a wellness appointment to make sure she’s ready for her new walking routine. Fill out our appointment request form to get started.