National Walk Your Dog Week
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, approximately 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight. That is equal to an estimated 50 million dogs. This is National Walk Your Dog Week. One week to update or start a walking routine with your pet. Something as simple as a daily walk contributes to improving your dog’s social behavior as well as strengthening your human animal bond.
There are many reasons that contribute the rise of pet obesity. Overfeeding (don’t forget to count all those extra treats or the last bite of what ever you just ate) as well as lack of exercise. Combined together optimal nutrition and daily walks are important to maintaining quality overall health. Don’t make the mistake of just letting your dog out in the back yard and thinking that is enough exercise. Walking even short distances has mental stimulation benefits for your dog.
Infinitely many opportunities exist for physical activity with your dog. Ask your veterinarian what types of exercise is best for your dog. Recommendations will take into consideration the age of your dog, breed, and any health issues they may have. Many activities make great options such as, swimming, agility, dog or remote-controlled toys but walking is easy to implement and its free.
Good For Them, Good For You
The general recommendation is that dogs need at least 30-minutes of physical activity a day.
A park, walking trail, or just around the neighborhood can be interactive, mentally stimulating, and provide social time for you and you dog.
A 30 minute daily walk will help you (because we need exercise too – and your dog) meet national recommendations for heart health and help your dog too. Dogs who are obese are at increased risk for developing serious weight related disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer, and more.
Walking can stimulate mental health as dogs explore a new environment, good digestive health, and help support arthritis treatments. Dogs with excessive energy (think Australian cattle Dogs, Jack Russell Terriers) or those with behavioral issues can benefit regular exercise.
Paws on the Ground
Here is a list of my favorite things that can make a dog walk easier:
- Harness (no prong collars, pinch collars)
- Appropriate size leash (my favorite is from J &J dog supplies)
- Waste bags
- Treats (low-calorie training treats won’t undo all the great work you are doing walking)
Get up step away from the computer (but not before you follow me on Instagram) and take a walk, with your four-legged family members.