Does my dog really need daily walks?

In recent years, pets have gained weight right along with their human companions. Many of our pets are overweight or obese.  That extra girth carries an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and several other pricey health issues no longer reserved for humans. We only started walking our Chihuahuas daily this year having thought that Chihuahuas, being so small, already get their exercise just walking around in the house. Their daily walks together with good nutrition, have seen both of them lost weight, happier and sleep better at night.

Before embarking on a daily routine, first consider your dog’s age, weight and health conditions. Younger dogs can handle frequent walks to burn energy, while older dogs which may suffer from arthritis can only handle short walks. Also, Focus on the walk. Always watch for potential distractions that may trigger your dog to react negatively. Determine the safest option for you and your pet and be on the lookout for potential distractions. That means you will have to abandon phone calls, messages, iTunes playlists and enjoy Mother Nature and your doggie.

Here are 6 reasons why walking is beneficial for your dogs.

1. Physical well being

A fit and healthy dog is a beautiful sight. Their muscles are strong and their bodies are sleek. An overweight dog is an unhealthy dog. Many dogs suffer from health problems simply because they are overweight – heart problems, breathing difficulties and joint pain are the most common. Daily walks also support your pet’s digestive health and aid in relieving occasional constipation.

2. Mental well being

Dogs were not made to sit around all day long and do nothing. They are intelligent animals with keen senses that would naturally be used for scavenging and in some cases hunting. By taking your dog out of his comfort zone on a daily basis you are giving him an opportunity to use his senses and to engage his mind.

3. Alleviates destructive behavior & hyperactivity. 

Hitting the pavement with your pup can help reduce or eliminate your pet’s destructive chewing, digging, or scratching. Pets are like children—if you don’t give them something constructive to do, they might take matters into their own paws. Evening walks can also help alleviate pent up energy, helping your dog feel more relaxed at bedtime and promotes better sleep.

4. Encourages socialization

While many people make an effort to socialize their puppies, they don’t realize that socializing should be a life-long endeavour.  If you have a timid or fearful pet, strolling around the neighborhood can help your pooch build confidence and trust. Walks expose your dog to other humans and animals, which will help him/her adapt to new or intimidating situations.

 5. Strengthens your bond

Spending quality time together is extremely important to your dog’s behavioral development. Daily walks help strengthen your bond and promote a trusting relationship.

6. Boosts your health, too

Walking a pet is sometimes regarded as a chore, but it should be thought of as a way for you and your canine to stay active together. Getting outdoors with your doggie is beneficial for both parties involved. Plus, communing with nature comes with a raft of tremendous psychological and physical benefits. Studies show that spending time outside can boost cognition and memory and increase your overall sense of well-being. What’s more, studies have shown that walking can lower blood pressure, stave off depression, strengthen your bones and slash your diabetes risk. You can even shed a few kilos in the process!

So grab a leash and start walking with your beloved furry friend by your side. Not only will your pooch reap the physical and mental benefits of daily exercise, you’ll benefit, too—maybe in the form of sloppy dog kisses, or maybe even in a smaller pants size.

Paws Fur Life, canine massage & nutrition, A healthy dog is a happy dog!