Pet Obesity Awareness Day falls within Walk Your Dog Week – coincidence? Probably not! Did you know that up to 59% of dogs worldwide are overweight?! With this staggering number, the importance of walking your dog to help keep him fit can’t be emphasized enough.
There are many important reasons to walk your dog:
- The exercise can help with weight control.
- The exercise can prevent muscular, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases.
- The exercise can prevent behavioral problems. Dogs that aren’t exercised can become bored. A bored dog can be a destructive dog (or develop other behavioral problems).
- It makes your dog happy! Dogs love to explore the smells (“stories”) beyond their own backyard.
- Most dogs enjoy meeting and socializing with others along the way.
- They enjoy being with their human social group too!
How much exercise is enough?
Every dog is different. The amount of exercise an individual dog needs varies based on its size, age, breed, and any medical conditions that he may have. Generally speaking, two 30-minute walks a day is a good place to start, but if your dog is not used to walking this much, you may want to start off slower with two 15-minute walks a day. If your dog is older, has health issues, or has been inactive, check with your veterinarian to come up with an exercise plan that will best suit your dog.
Human health is also impacted!
Don’t forget that by walking your dog twice a day, you are getting exercise too – and time outdoors! Walking, especially in the woods or forested areas, has been proven to improve our physical and mental wellbeing. Consider including family members for one walk a day. Make it family time. Not only will your dog enjoy the romp with his “pack,” your family will benefit too!
And there is another benefit. Walking your dog can create social connections in your neighborhood. Many people gather at certain times of the day to go on group walks or let their dogs play together at the dog park… while they take the time to chat and socialize. Check to see if your neighborhood has a “dog walking group” or a dog park (but first be sure that your dog is sociable with others).
Who knew that taking Fido for a walk could have so many benefits to his – and your health!
Fall is a beautiful time of year to get out and enjoy the outdoors – the hot days of summer are behind us and the cold days of winter are yet to come! Enjoy the crisp sunny days of autumn and get into a good routine now – an established routine will help you both stay active during the colder days of winter.