Dog walking — twice a day in our house — is usually the highlight of my day. I love the peaceful time outside with our dogs and the exercise it provides me–and our dogs.
Today we have a special guest post from veterinarian Dr. Kristin Kirkby Shaw about six reasons to walk your dog–and I’ll bet you and your dog will think of even more once you hit the trail!
A Veterinarian’s Advice on the Top 6 Reasons to Walk Your Dog Regularly
January is Walk Your Pet Month, which aligns perfectly with a time of year when many people are making resolutions to be healthier and move more. Walking your dog regularly has many benefits that you will both enjoy.
Here are the top 6 reasons to walk your dog regularly, throughout Walk Your Pet Month and all year long, from renowned small-animal surgeon and rehabilitation specialist, Dr. Kristin Kirkby Shaw, DVM, MS, Ph.D., CCRT, DACVS, DACVSMR.
Regular walks are one of the best things you can do for your dog’s overall health (as well as yours!)
That’s because obesity, which affects up to 56% of all dogs in the U.S., is the biggest health threat facing our pups.
Being overweight or obese increases their risk for many serious diseases, including osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, heart failure, and more.
Regular exercise helps to keep your dog at a healthy weight (and countless studies have proven that it’s effective at helping us stay at a healthy weight, too!).
Regular walks are great for dogs with arthritis or at risk of developing arthritis.
In addition to helping to keep their weight and body condition in the ideal range, regular, low-impact exercise has been proven to reduce signs of pain in dogs with arthritis.
Walking helps their joints stay healthy and improves muscle strength, so they can stay active, healthy, and by your side for longer.
Arthritis is the number one cause of chronic pain in dogs, and regular exercise is an important part of a comprehensive approach to managing pain.
Walking helps to relieve boredom!
Bored dogs get into mischief and can develop destructive behaviors. Regular walks help to stimulate their minds and burn off excess energy.
Dog walking strengthens your bond with your dog.
Walking together regularly solidifies your dog’s order in your pack and helps you improve how you communicate.
Dog walking will help you meet new people!
In today’s world of 24/7 online interactions, it can be challenging to connect with people face-to-face outside of the office.
Walking your dog regularly will help you explore your neighborhood and make new connections, even if people just want to talk to dog to your dog at first! 😉
Note from Paris: Dog walking is also a great way to meet people when you’re traveling. I don’t know how many hotel staff members, restaurant staff, beachcombers and fellow travelers we’ve chatted with on our dog walks when traveling, interactions with local residents we’d never have enjoyed if not for our dog walking!
It is a natural way to relieve stress and improve your overall wellbeing.
Being active and moving more has been proven time and again to help relieve stress, something most of us deal with every day. When you get outside with your best friend, the emotional, physical, and mental benefits are all amplified. Walk Your Pet Month is a great opportunity to start a healthy new habit for both you and your dog.
Dr. Shaw has dedicated her career to helping dog owners and veterinary professionals identify early signs of arthritis and implement comprehensive treatment plans that include weight loss, regular exercise, pain management, strengthening exercises and rehabilitation, supplements, and more. She founded Canine Arthritis Resources and Education (CARE, CanineArthritis.org) in 2019 as a free educational resource with tools and tactics she uses with her own patients and with her own dogs that have had arthritis. CARE has free resources for dog owners and veterinary professionals, but veterinary professionals must sign up with their email address to access resources designed for their practice.