Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
National Walk Your Dog Month: Ten Great Reasons to Celebrate
Last week, as you may recall, we wrote about the importance of keeping your pet active during the winter months and gave you pointers on pet-friendly winter activities. This week, we wanted to follow up with some encouraging reasons as to why dog walking has health benefits for both dog and owner alike.
Here are a few of our favorite reasons to enjoy a walk with your pet. January was National Walk Your Pet Month and we are motivated to inspire you to grab your pet’s leash and head outside for some fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.
10 Reasons to Walk Your Dog
- It helps keep you and your pet healthy – Walking has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. There are also numerous studies on the relationship between daily exercise and the health and longevity of our pets. As pet obesity plays a significant role in diminished health and increased risk of disease, daily exercise is required to keep your pet fit and at a healthy weight.
- It is an opportunity for socializing – Just as we need exercise for physical wellbeing, we also need to connect with others to reduce isolation and loneliness. Dog walking – as you may have noticed – seems to be a naturally jovial activity, as we interact with dog owners and their dogs in our shared love of our pups. Our canines, too, require social opportunities to help dissuade negative behaviors, such as barking and resource guarding, and reinforce obedience training cues and commands.
- You get to practice those pet training techniques – Speaking of training, leash walking is often one of the most challenging of tasks for dog owners and also a good measure of how your dog is doing when it comes to responding to the world around him. If your dog is kept in isolation at home all of the time, it is tough to know how he might respond to strangers or unexpected stimuli. Leash walking and socialization offers you the chance to encourage the positive behaviors you want to reinforce.
- You share quality bonding time together – With ringing, beeping, buzzing, and pinging, it seems like the distractions never end. By going for a walk with your dog, you create an opportunity to focus on her, providing the attention and interaction she needs to feel safe and calm. And, it also provides some warm fuzzies for you, too!
- Fresh air and sunshine is good for mental and physical health – Many of us are vitamin D deficient, even those of us residing in sunnier regions. But, before you pop another vitamin, remember that your dog also needs sunshine and fresh air. Two 20-30 minute walks a day gives our bodies a chance to soak up those rays. Sunshine also simply feels good! Ever notice how your dog or cat loves to curl up in that patch of sunlight through an open door or window?
- It provides motivation – Staying motivated is so much easier with the help of a friend. That’s why many of us elect to work out with an exercise buddy. Thankfully, our dogs are more than willing to help provide that motivation to get out and move!
It encourages other important pet health needs – Those who commit to their pet’s daily exercise routine are often more likely to attend to other important pet health needs, such as teeth brushing and annual physical examinations.
It relieves stress and boredom – Feeling stressed? Walking is linked to stress reduction and even has meditative qualities. By walking your pet, you are also helping him burn off some of that energy that can lead to unwanted behaviors, such as barking or chewing.
It tunes you in – When was the last time you checked in with your own health and how you are generally feeling? Walking offers us a chance to tune in and notice the small things. When it comes to our pets, paying attention to their energy levels, mobility, and overall health can help us catch subtle signs and symptoms, too.
It’s fun – Oh, and THIS! What’s better than a big goofy dog smile? We’ve even heard some cats enjoy walking on a leash (we’d love to see the pictures!).
We hope you feel motivated to get outside and walk with your best friend! If your pup pal is struggling with loose leash walking or socialization, call your Rocklin Ranch team and we can give you recommendations.