6 Reasons to Start Walking Your Dog Yesterday
We all want to be great dog parents. We intend to train our dogs, practice learning new tricks every day, take them out for a walk- no! two walks! a day… but when we get home tired from work, it’s much easier to let them out in the yard to do their business alone then let them back in for Netflix and pets. But dogs don’t create their own exercise routines on their own- they need direction, stimulation- or else they will do it in ways you prefer they not.
As dog walkers we can unequivocally tell you that truly, a tired dog is a much better behaved dog. Just like with children, dogs have active minds and a desire to explore the world with you by their side. They crave time with their parents, and also need to stretch their legs and get in some exercise to maintain their health. It’s a no-brainer that we should all be walking our dogs, but here are a six reasons to inspire action today.
1. Keep your dogs at a healthy weight.
Dog obesity is on the rise. This causes many of the same problems for them as obese humans experience, including joint and muscle pain, chronic inflammation, depression, strain on the heart and other organs, crowding of the lungs, and more.
Exercising with your dog every day, coupled with a great diet appropriate for your dog’s needs, will result in maintaining a good weight for your pet and avoid any weight-related health issues with joints and bones.
How to tell if a dog is at a good weight when you don’t have a scale at home? Here are some quick visual guidelines:
- Your dog’s ribs should not be showing. Feel the sides; you should feel their ribs after some slight padding, like having a blanket over the ribs.
- Look at your pet from above: hip bones should not be protruding, but they shouldn’t look like a sausage or a ball with legs. There should be a nice narrowing at the abdomen.
- Look at your pet from the side: You should see a dip in the abdomen when looking at them from the side. The stomach should not hang below the chest, or be too tight against the back.
2. Prevent premature aging
Exercise like walking your dog prevents premature aging by engaging and maintaining lean muscle condition. Lean muscle mass is important because it strengthens bones and “dramatically increases the availability of protein and constituent amino acids, which availability is tremendously important to maintaining whole-body metabolism and “organ reserve” (the functional capacity of organs to support life).
Whole-body metabolism and organ reserve are absolutely vital to basic bodily life-support but they tend to break down as bodies age,” according to Coach Dan Schulof at Varsity Pets. Take this to heart for yourself, too- get moving at least 20 minutes a day to prevent a slew of issues in your own body. Ah, dogs are a gift that keep on giving!
3. Maintain essential bodily functions:
Daily exercise is also considered one of the first treatments for dog constipation, in addition to adequate water and fiber in the diet. Did you know that lack of muscle use allows muscle to generate? Yeah, we learned about that in school at some point. Exercise such as walking your dog improves insulin health and metabolism, as well.
According to Animal Wellness Magazine, “Physical activity helps jumpstart natural gene systems involved in regenerating and maintaining insulin health, helping to reverse insulin resistance and diabetes. It’s another one of those natural adaptation mechanisms where the body adapts to physical work by improving nutrient absorption by the cells. It consequently improves sugar transport for the energy required by working cells, and helps restore insulin health and correct the diabetic condition. Improvement of insulin resistance literally enhances biological age and general health as well as energy, stamina and strength.”
4. Helps your dog be better behaved.
Are your dogs tearing up furniture, your favorite shoes, or being generally destructive when you’re not around? If you work or travel a lot or simply have a very busy schedule, your animals might be channeling their pent-up energy as best they can. Active dogs who don’t have an outlet for their energy can become destructive and exhibit neurotic behaviors such as chewing, digging, or barking, but you can prevent that!
Get up a little earlier to take your dog out for a morning walk- we promise it’s much cooler these days and it will get you off to a great start as well. Walks, without cell phones to interrupt, are a good time for introspection. And your dogs get to sniff the world around them. Just remember to be zen about the doggy poop pickup.
5. Training and Dog Socialization
Chances are, you’ll be meeting other dogs on your walk. Routine walks are a great way to teach your pets how to interact in a healthy way with other dogs. If it’s been a while since your dog has seen another animal and thinks it’s human (meaning, it doesn’t remember how to “dog”), or it is fearful or anxious, be sure to enlist the help of a great trainer who uses positive reinforcement to help get them over that hump.
6. Strengthen your bond with your pup
Dogs have evolved over thousands of years to please humans. Descended from wolves, their bodies became smaller, from paws to fangs, they became less frightening and less fearful, the first domesticated animal and our constant companions. We bred them to be with us and want to be with us- so bear with them when they crave your attention. Give them quality time, structured as it must be around your schedule- but find time to fulfill this need. Love for you exists naturally, but a bond takes time and small daily commitments to instill.
So take the 30 minutes to an hour to walk with your dog and strengthen your relationship with shared experiences and a chance to reinforce great walking behavior and other commands. Notice whether your dog is checking in with you, making eye contact. When you get home, incorporate a new trick or reinforce old ones. The point is taking the time to build a relationship beyond simply feeding your dog and petting it whenever it’s convenient.
As with anything in life, dogs thrive with care and attention. Daily walks and exercise help give them entertainment, health, and quality time with you or their other favorite humans- including dog walkers like us! We also create bonds with your pups over time, and are happy to step up for you whenever you’re busy working. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 305.794.3733 to chat about your dog care options!