Posted by Bethan Bithell on 24th Jun 2016
The activity of dog walking brings with it many clear benefits for both you and your pets!
With an increase in obesity for both humans and dogs alike, health officials and vets are suggesting that the simple act of walking, for just 20 minutes each day, can be very rewarding, beneficial and is highly recommended.
In the infographic below, here at Cherry Tree Country Clothing, we have tried to capture the benefits of dog walking for both you and your pet:
Below, we now examine these points in a little more detail:
Dog Walking Benefits
Regular exercise will pump blood around the heart of your dog which will help to reduce heart problems in the future. It has been reported by the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, that during a four year period (2009-2013) 39 out of 1000 dogs experienced heart problems in the UK.
With cardiovascular disease becoming increasingly common, regular exercise and heart healthy foods are essential to try to reduce future problems. Plus, within the same time frame, 6% of dogs suffered from stiffness. Regular movement will aid joint movement which, in turn, will help to reduce joint aches and pains - and even arthritis in the older years!
It has also been reported that a startling 61% of dogs (out of the sample of 1000) were classed as obese! Regular exercise will help to control your pet's weight, as will healthy and non fatty foods.
Cardiovascual exercise such as walking and running helps to strengthen abdominal muscles and improves blood flow throughout the body. Regular movement also helps to aid the digestive system which can relieve constipation and bloating, whilst reducing the build up of gas.
Regular walks will help keep your pet occupied, happy and stimulated... and then ready for that all important sleep! This will help to prevent destructive behaviour such as chewing, digging or excessive barking.
Keep your Pet Calm
Regular exercise through walking and also the interaction with different smells and visuals can help to keep your dog's mind active. Upon return, this can often result in them becoming quite sleepy. After all, a sleepy dog is a calm dog. It's surprising what a 20 minute walk can do!
Unruliness is usually caused by your dog having far too much energy which it might try to dispel through being naughty or destructive. Get rid of this extra energy through regular exercise. It is also important to change the levels and locations of your exercise regime, to avoid boredom. For example, changing where you walk so that they appreciate new smells and surroundings will help. You may wish to run with your pet rather than walk, this will help to alleviate excess energy a lot quicker - and, with your doctors blessing of course, can be really good for you too!
Spending more time with your pet through exercising can make them feel as though they are receiving so much more attention from you. This may result in less "attention-seeking" behaviour such, as whining or that excessive barking that many are prone to!
Exercise improves the bond between you and your pet which, in turn, enhances your relationship. Having a positive relationship with your pet is the key to success, when training or encouraging discipline.
Building confidence through interaction and regular exercise can help to enhance mutual trust, particularly when dealing with a fearful pet. It may be the case that your pet is fearful because of poor socialisation when a puppy, or perhaps because of a past experience of some type. Sometimes however, it is simply down to the basic temperament of your dog. So, exercise will help to build trust, which will help to reduce fear. Taking your pet out regularly will get them used to different surroundings, noises and smells.
Socialising your pet is important and wherever possible needs to start at the puppy stage. Socialising is about getting your pet used to other people, animals and surroundings. Walking regularly helps them get used to both everyday and more unusual noises caused by traffic, people or other animals. It also gives you the opportunity to introduce other training commands such as 'sit', 'come here', and 'wait'.
Grooming and cleaning your pet after a walk also has its benefits. Starting a regular routine when you come back from your walk will help to enhance your relationship and bonding regime, whilst also mentally stimulating them!
You may also find that a dog drying coat will help with your cleaning and grooming routine.
Dog Walking Benefits for Humans
Many of the factors mentioned above are also relevant for humans! For example, improved blood flow, aiding of the digestive system and weight control. There are however other benefits of walking, which include:
- Managing stress - Petting and walking your dog can help to lower levels of stress hormone in your body
- Improve Brain Activity - Less stress results in a lowered risk of stroke or other brain illnesses
- Enjoying and Appreciating Nature - Becoming more aware of your surroundings by walking in parks or countryside will increase your sense of well-being
- Companionship - You can reduce the feeling of being lonely by getting out and about with your pet. This will also help to build your relationship with your dog, as you bond with them
(Please Note: It's always a good idea to check with your doctor, before embarking upon a new programme of strenuous exercise)
Dog Walking Essentials
Regular exercise often means being out in all weathers, all year round. You may get caught out during a heavy downpour and so wearing the right dog walking clothing will help to make your activity even more enjoyable for you.
Below are some of the dog walking essentials we recommend:
- Waterproof Jacket with plenty of pockets to carry treats and poo bags
- Waterproof Over-Trousers
- Waterproof Walking Boots or Wellies
- Comfortable Socks
Depending on how far you are planning to walk, you may wish to consider the following essentials:
- A rucksack - to carry your jacket and over-trousers, if it's not raining
- A mobile phone
- Extra dog treats and poo bags
There are many suggested dog friendly walks now available from various council websites and to meet the demands of these, we have some fantastic dog walking boots currently available.
So, why not start planning your next walk now and work towards enhancing a rewarding and strong relationship with your dog - whilst possibly improving your own health too!
Enjoy your time out and about with your best friend!