I'm ready to go for a walk, Parental Unit! And I'll even carry a few of my own supplies (treats, perhaps?) so I can have a job and burn more calories.
Who knew that this week ( October 1-7) is National Walk Your Dog Week? Well. we all do now! And we're thrilled to call your attention to this important activity: It's crucial to the health and happiness of both your pet and you, to walk your dog every day. Letting your dog out in the yard, if you're lucky enough to have one, is simply not enough physical and mental stimulation for most dogs. And besides, canines are traveling animals, so walking many miles each day ( with their pack leader, of course) is their natural state of being.
In preparation for National Walk Your Dog Week, our good friends at Pet360 surveyed more than 4,000 dog owners to find out how often the average canine is walked by a human companion. And the results are, frankly, a tad disappointing. According to the survey, only 56 percent of dog owners walk their dog at least once per day. What's up with that? And a horrifying 33 percent of the survey's respondents admitted they rarely take their dogs for a walk.
Parental Unit claims she learned the hard way, that all dogs need more physical and mental stimulation than we think. She still regrets that my predecessor, Carson, a high energy Wire Fox Terrier, didn't get nearly enough exercise for his energy level. Although she took him for one or two fairly short walks every day, that wasn't nearly enough...and lots of destruction and unhappiness ensued. She feels guilty to this day, and firmly believes that her own lack of knowledge and inaction made for a less than optimal life for dear Carson.
But the good news is that she's more than made up for that with me! In over six years, we've only missed two days of long walks, and both were ice storms. Even last year's trio of polar vortex hits didn't keep us indoors! But enough about us..
To encourage pet owners to hit the ground running or walking with their four-legged friends this fall, Pet360 has pulled together the Top Five Benefits of Walking Your Dog. The bottom line? Daily walks with your best furfriend provide huge physical and mental benefits for your both. And away you go!
1. Promotes Weight Control & Digestive Health – An overweight pet is an unhealthy pet. In addition to regulating your dog’s diet, regular exercise will keep your pet fit, agile, and limber. Daily walks also support your pet’s digestive health and aid in relieving occasional constipation.
2. 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. Be sure to follow these nighttime safety tips to make sure both you and your pet are protected.
3. 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.
4. Encourages Socialization – If you have a timid or fearful pet, strolling around the neighborhood can help your pooch build confidence and trust. Walks expose your pet to other humans and animals, which will help him or her adapt to new or intimidating situations. Check out these tips for ensuring stress-free walks with your dog.
5. Helps 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. Getting outdoors with your pup in tow is beneficial for all involved and may even help you shed a few pounds in the process.
Here's to your good health and happiness!