If you’ve had a dog for any length of time, you already know it: dogs love to go on walks! As soon as your pooch hears the jingle of the leash, no matter how deeply asleep they were or how engrossed they were in another activity, there they are at the door waiting and ready to go. There’s no doubt about it, “go for a walk” is one of a dog’s favorite phrases. In addition to being great fun for your dog, walks benefit your dog’s health and well-being in numerous ways.
Benefits of Walks for Your Dog’s Physical Health
Being overweight can lead to numerous health problems and can shorten your dog’s life. In addition to feeding your dog a healthy diet, regular exercise is essential to helping them maintain a healthy weight. If your dog is already obese or overweight, first, talk to your vet about a diet and weight-loss plan and to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be a factor in your pet’s weight. Walks can be a great low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints of overweight dogs; just start with slower, short walks, and work up longer, more intense walks as their body condition improves.
Your dog’s joints need regular movement to function well. Too much time being sedentary can lead to stiff joints and immobility. Walks are great exercise for dogs of all ages and sizes, helping them stay fit, agile, and limber.
Walks help regulate your dog’s digestive system and can aid in relieving occasional constipation. Although, it’s not recommended to exercise your dog immediately after eating as this can possibly cause bloat, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Mental & Behavioral Benefits of Walks
In addition to improving your dog’s physical health, walking also provides dogs with much-needed mental stimulation. New and interesting smells and sights are all around, and going for a walk gives your dog the chance to explore and experience them all.
The benefits of a walk for your dog even continue after you’ve come home and hung up the leash. With his needs for exercise and mental stimulation satisfied, your dog will be more capable of being relaxed and well-behaved at home. Used along with positive training, regular exercise and enrichment, like walks can help by decreasing hyperactivity, stress, and boredom, which can be factors in some unwanted behaviors such as chewing, digging, or jumping on people.
Bonding with Your Dog
Having a strong bond with your dog is vital for a healthy, loving relationship with your furry friend, and spending quality time with them, such as walking, is a great way to build that bond. Observing and interacting with your dog on walks helps you understand them better and brings you closer together.
Walks are also a great time to train your dog. Teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash and not pull is probably one of the most obvious things to work on while walking. Other behaviors you can work on while on a walk include politely greeting other people you meet, “leave it” for things your dog finds on the ground that they shouldn’t eat, sitting while waiting to cross the treat, or get a long leash and work on coming when called.
A Dog Walker Can Help!
Love your dog by giving them all the benefits of daily walks, and if you’re having trouble meeting your dog’s daily needs for exercise and activity, contact Ready Pet Go or give us a call at 240-221-5335, we’d be happy to help!